Cubs are seeing early success undone by these three things

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Javier B aez / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Cubs need Baez and Bryant to turn it around offensively

Two of the Cubs’ former MVP finalists (including one winner), Kris Bryant and Javier Baez have, to put it mildly, struggled a great deal this season at the plate. The former has battled injuries and a stomach bug, but has looked just overmatched on very hittable pitches – and the numbers bear the evidence.

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Bryant is seeing more pitches per plate appearance than at any point in his big league career. But he’s not doing anything with them. The 2015 NL Rookie of the Year has barreled just 5.3 percent of pitches heading into Monday night’s contest with St. Louis (compared to a 10.3 percent mark for his career) and is striking out more often than he has since his rookie campaign five years ago.

Meanwhile, Baez is starting to look more and more like the guy who used to be hellbent on pulling the ball instead of the one we saw take shape in recent years, displaying easy power to all fields. He ranks in the bottom five percent of the league in whiff rate and bottom 15 in strikeout percentage this season.

Manager David Ross gave his shortstop the day off on Sunday ahead of the Cubs’ five games in three days against St. Louis. Baez went 1-for-3 with a strikeout and a throwing error in the front end of Monday’s doubleheader following the day off.

"“I’ve pushed him really hard,” Ross said. “Getting him off his feet, getting him kind of a mental reset and getting ready for the games we’ve got to come, I just felt it was good for him and our team.”"

If these guys don’t get it going (Baez is hitting .208 and Bryant .190) – the Cubs aren’t going anywhere. This is a major concern for the team and is undoubtedly laying heavy on Ross’ mind as he fills out the lineup card.