After clobbering 55 home runs in the Home Run Derby, Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber hit an offensive wall coming out of the All-Star Break.
After Monday night’s low-scoring 3-1 win over the lowly Kansas City Royals, the Chicago Cubs got back on the right track despite their recent offensive woes. Aside from Ben Zobrist, Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward and Javier Baez, the Cubs are struggling at the plate.
A dismal .222/.306/.376 slash line since July 19 from Schwarber will simply not get it done while the Cubs are without Kris Bryant. His wRC+ sits at measly 74 while his strikeout rate is up at 27.4 percent during this stretch.
However, he still walks at a 11.3 percent rate, which shows he’s still working counts and finding ways to reach base. That comes to no surprise since he’s in a season where he’s has a career-high in OBP at .364.
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It’s a small sample size, but Schwarber was 6-for-11 in three games before his last two contests where he’s gone hitless, which includes four strikeouts in an 0-for-8 stretch.
Time to shake up the order?
One could wonder what would happen if Joe Maddon moved him up higher in the lineup for more opportunities to hit. We’ve seen in the past where Schwarber batted second or fifth in the lineup.
Rizzo, who won’t bat leadoff forever, will likely move back to third or fourth in the lineup with Baez either in front of or behind him. Schwarber would have some decent protection in front of him if he batted second while moving Zobrist to the leadoff spot.
It’s clear right now that Rizzo will likely stay in the leadoff role because of his current hot streak in that spot of the lineup. A .361/.455/.639 slash line since he consistently started batting first in the lineup on July 13 is exactly what the doctor ordered for the team captain.
That rings only more true with perhaps the Cubs’ most valuable player (Bryant) is on the shelf. It makes sense that he’s in the leadoff role right now – but doesn’t over the long-term.
What more can we say about Baez? It’s his world and we’re all just living in it. The infielder is either showing off at the plate, bat flipping while watching one of his deep fly balls, sliding into the bases in some unorthodox way but still avoiding tags or making incredible plays defensively all around the infield. He’s put himself in the NL MVP discussion considering the production the Cubs have missed from Bryant and Rizzo for most of the season.
With those two behind Schwarber, it could be a nice boost for his offense.
Hopefully, for the Cubs sake, Schwarber starts to come out of his midseason slump after a successful weekend because the Cubs need him to be a threat while they continue to monitor Bryant’s health.