Cubs could be without Kris Bryant and Tyler Chatwood for a while

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant makes a play. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant makes a play. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Injuries are rapidly piling up for the Cubs – including two notable names.

If there were a theme on Tuesday for the Chicago Cubs, it was injuries. Kris Bryant receiving injections for an ailing left wrist that’s been bothering him for a spell. Tyler Chatwood is off to see a back specialist and there’s no timetable for his return to the rotation and outfielder Steven Souza  hit the IL due to a hamstring strain.

Obviously, the most glaring name on that list is Bryant. He’s been a complete disaster out of the leadoff spot in 2020, evidenced by a .271 on-base percentage and 28.6 percent strikeout rate. He’s looked totally overmatched even on what are typically very hittable pitches by his standards. We’ve known he wasn’t right for awhile – and even though needing an injection and time off isn’t good news, we can hope that it’ll relieve the pain and allow him to get back to producing offensively.

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Earlier today, I outlined some of the issues facing the Cubs – including a lack of production from Bryant and teammate Javier Baez. Simply put, until these two get it figured out, Chicago is going to be skating on thin ice in terms of being a quality lineup.

The loss of Chatwood certainly won’t help matters, either. The Cubs are already down Jose Quintana and have now turned to the likes of Tyson Miller to eat innings on, at the very least, a spot start basis. Who exactly the team will turn to in tomorrow’s doubleheader remains to be seen.

Per Bruce Levine, Chatwood is headed to see a specialist for his back. That injury cost him his start last Friday and, although the Cubs had hoped he could take the ball over the weekend, that’s clearly not the case.

On the year, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA. Those numbers are wildly inflated by a clunker his third time out, in which he surrendered eight runs in just 2 1/3 innings of work against the Royals. Across his first two outings, he allowed just one tally across 12 2/3 frames. He looked like a totally different pitcher and his success buoyed our hopes the rotation might turn out to be a point of strength for the Cubs. 

Now for the Souza injury. It’s not like the team is going to miss any sort of production from the veteran. He’s struggled (badly) at the plate thus far and really has become more valuable given Bryant’s injury or when other guys like Kyle Schwarber felt a little banged up.

But without him, the team’s depth issue grows even more concerning. Hernan Perez joined the team to replace Souza, but when you’re trotting out Josh Phegley to DH, you know there are some major issues in that area.

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We headed into the year mostly concerned with the risks associated with COVID-19 and what it might do to a roster. Perhaps that made us overlook the potential threat of injury. Right now, they’re piling up for the Cubs and it’s going to take all hands on deck to get through this stretch.