Chicago Cubs: Nico Hoerner, Matt Duffy are what’s missing right now

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

No one seems to know just what to make of the Chicago Cubs right now. The offense, which came roaring to life in May, has gone largely quiet in June – and is far too dependent on slugging once more. One reason that might be the case? The team is still without Nico Hoerner and Matt Duffy, two of their best bat-to-ball hitters.

Hoerner looks to be ramping up and, barring any sort of setback, could be back with the team by early July. That would prove to be a big boost on both sides of the ball given the former Stanford standout was a Gold Glove finalist last year and was batting a ridiculous .338/.405/.432 before hitting the shelf.

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"“Just that bottom piece on a nightly basis, sometimes we’re lacking that contact. That guy that keeps it going,” Ross told The Athletic (subscription required). “There’s no secret, especially if you look at the numbers, with Nico and Duffy in the lineup, we’re a better offense. That’s not anything against the guys that are in there right now. They’ve contributed really well and won a lot of games for us. But over the long haul, we need some of those players back and healthy.”"

The Cubs skipper went on to say that in the next week to 10 days, Hoerner could be sent out on a rehab assignment – which, as I noted above, is obviously good news. His offensive profile is wildly different than most of his teammates and undoubtedly makes the lineup deeper.

Chicago Cubs: Matt Duffy suffers a setback in his recovery

As for Duffy, the latest news isn’t encouraging. There’s no hard timeline for the return of the veteran, who experienced a recent setback as he works his way back from a back injury. It was coming up aces before he pushed too hard recently, which prompted the organization to hit the brakes in his recovery.

On the year, Duffy has been an unexpected pleasant surprise, appearing in 46 games and putting up a .377 OBP. He comes with obvious defensive versatility, as well – and given the injuries the Cubs have battled through, that type of maneuverability has been key.

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Chicago welcomes the Cleveland Indians to the Confines for a brief two-game stint on Monday and Tuesday, looking to find a way to get the offense going after managing just five runs over the three-game weekend series against Miami. One thing’s for sure: if the team can keep its head above water for a few more weeks, the return of Hoerner and (hopefully) Duffy will be a huge boost.