3 players who have to step up if the Cubs are going to save their season

The team keeps talking about turning the corner on its losing ways, but it'll take action - not words - to get things back on track.
Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Jeff Dean/GettyImages
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After dropping two of three to the rival St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs' postseason odds fell to a season-low 21.3% according to Fangraphs. If you're looking to assign blame, you can flip a coin between the bullpen and offense on any given day - but it's clear this team will need to score more runs on a consistent basis if it doesn't want to miss the postseason yet again.

Key contributors haven't met expectations, putting the team behind the 8-ball heading into late June. You could draw names out of a hat in terms of who hasn't produced at the plate, but these 3 guys have to step up if Chicago has any chance of getting the train back on the tracks.

Cubs need more out of Dansby Swanson at the plate - it's that simple

Over the weekend, I saw a comparison between Dansby Swanson and Jason Heyward floating around, more or less labeling the former as big of a bust as the latter. That's a hot take, but I get the general feeling. Swanson is playing on the second-largest contract in Cubs history and, especially in 2024, he's not living up to the expectations that come with it.

Swanson entered the series opener against the Giants Monday batting a measly .212 with an 81 OPS+. Of course, he's still an above-average defender and runs the bases well, but he's been a total liability at the dish. He's not even getting on base at a .300 clip and has been one of the main culprits behind the team's struggles with runners in scoring position.

The two-time All-Star is batting just .170 in such situations and he's barely improved with men on, batting just .210 in those spots. He hasn't come up with the clutch knocks the team needs and, given his role as a leader of this squad and the face of the franchise at this point, Swanson has to do more with the bat. No one expects him to be a 30-100 guy, but he needs to at least be a league-average bat for the Cubs to be successful.