Cubs set a kind of record you don’t ever want in latest loss

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

It should come as no surprise the only kind of record the 2022 Cubs are setting are of the variety no team ever wants to be associated with. The offense’s woeful performance with runners in scoring position this year reached historic proportions on Sunday, as Chicago went 48 at-bats with runners in scoring position without a hit before Ian Happ mercifully ended it with a knock.

This offense, which carried a .685 OPS with runners in scoring position entering Sunday, the fifth-worst mark in the league, has been brutal for much of the year. Chicago’s seeming inability to come up with clutch hits has plagued the team all season. Just look at their record in one-run games (6-14) if you need some further proof.

The worst part is the lineup is poised to get dramatically worse over the next six weeks. Imagine subtracting Ian Happ and Willson Contreras from this equation – because both could conceivably be dealt ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline, taking away from an already precipitous order.

Happ ranks second on the team (behind the recently-demoted Alfonso Rivas) with a .932 OPS with runners in in scoring position, followed by Contreras at .872. If you’re wondering who the biggest problems are in these situations, it’s not hard to come up with answers.

  • Nick Madrigal (.042 OPS) in 23 ABs w/ RISP
  • Rafael Ortega (.467 OPS) in 30 ABs w/ RISP
  • Christopher Morel (.474 OPS) in 23 ABs w/ RISP

Chicago has just four players who are hitting north of .250 with runners in scoring position. Jonathan Villar, Happ, Yan Gomes and Seiya Suzuki. It’s been an issue up and down the lineup and, really, there’s little reason to think things will improve anytime soon.

During the Theo Epstein era, many complained about the Cubs being too reliant on power to score runs, criticizing the team’s biggest names for their three true outcome approach at the plate. Now, though, there’s a complete absence of power that, paired with no timely hitting, has culminated in an offense that bordered on unwatchable this weekend against the Yankees.

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So here’s to making history – albeit the wrong kind – in a season that’s been disappointing in virtually every way, with more rough seas ahead in the months to come.