Chicago Cubs: Rest, health will be huge part of team’s final months

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs enter the stretch run of a tight pennant race with many injured and fatigued players. Can they get everyone healthy and clinch the division?

For the first time in the Joe Maddon era, the Chicago Cubs are battling several significant injuries simultaneously.

The Cubs pulling Ben Zobrist from Tuesday’s game in Kansas City with hip tightness is just the latest blip in a season that has been riddled with injuries. While we can hope that Zobrist’s injury is minor, it’s not to be overlooked that fatigue may be settling in for a lot of players who have had to play larger roles than previously envisioned.

Chicago has sustained extended injuries to closer Brandon Morrow, former National League MVP Kris Bryant and starter Yu Darvish. How have they survived to this point? By showcasing their tremendous depth and letting manager Joe Maddon utilize his creativity to fill the voids.

David Bote has been a spark plug for the Cubs in Bryant’s absence, and Javier Baez, Ian Happ and Tommy La Stella have all shown their ability to play multiple positions in Maddon’s game of musical chairs.

The bullpen has thrived without Morrow, with Pedro Strop closing out the majority of the team’s wins. New additions Cole Hamels, Brandon Kintzler and Jesse Chavez have all been effective in their respective roles. The bullpen has also gotten help from Randy Rosario, Luke Farrell, Anthony Bass and Justin Hancock – all who began the year at Triple-A Iowa.

The players’ flexibility to fill different roles within the pitching staff and batting order has shined during a season where they’ve experienced more injuries than years past.