Cubs have to start hitting for power again if they want to turn this around
By Jake Misener
Over the last 15 games, the Chicago Cubs rank 11th in baseball in slugging percentage. But if you subtract Christopher Morel and his otherworldly start to the season from the equation, the picture quickly looks quite different.
During that stretch, the Cubs have just two players outside of Morel with a slugging percentage above .500: outfielder Seiya Suzuki and shortstop Dansby Swanson. If you're of the mind that .500 mark is a bit aspirational and you take the league-wide average slugging mark of .408, only Yan Gomes adds the list of guys exceeding that mark in the last two weeks.
If you look at just the last week, things get even worse. It's Suzuki and Morel and a whole lot of nothing after that. They're the only players with a .500+ slugging percentage and only a handful of their teammates are even close to being league average in terms of OPS.
Key pieces of the offense, including Patrick Wisdom, Ian Happ and Cody Bellinger (prior to hitting the IL) have seen their power strokes disappear and it's showed in wasted starts from guys like Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman and Drew Smyly in the last week or so.
Cubs searching for slugging in a lineup that's gone cold of late
Rookie first baseman Matt Mervis was supposed to be that left-handed power bat the team needed, but he's still getting acclimated to the big leagues, although he's started to show some signs of life. Of course, showing signs of life and translating them to success are two different things, but if you need a little cause for optimism, there you go.
Wisdom, meanwhile, has gone cold after leading MLB in home runs early on in the year - and hasn't homered since May 10 and has just two long balls in the month of May. Happ has been ice-cold over the last week; and while driving the ball out of the yard isn't what he does when he's at his best, he hasn't been hitting for extra bases of late, either.
With a big homestand that sees Chicago welcome the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays to town, the Cubs will look to get some home cooking going because the offense hasn't been at its best over the last two weeks.