Over the past few weeks, the Chicago Cubs offense has had some struggles. Despite the overall record looking good, the team has had to claw their way to some stressful wins. It was a bit predictable to see the offense going through a bit of a lull, considering the fact that their run of scoring 10+ runs regularly was not sustainable. Ups and downs happen, it's baseball.
Cannot say it has been all bad the past few weeks, there were a few games where the offense was putting up 6+ runs, but they were spread around in this overall lull period. Several notable Cub hitters are in slumps right now and are looking to heat up again. As mentioned before, slumps are not abnormal, it is just a bit more magnified considering the team is in a playoff race and the remaining games are crucial going forward. Here is a look at some of the notable individual dry spells at the plate.
.165/.252/.286 - 15/91 with 3 home runs, 2 doubles, 27 strikeouts and .538 OPS in last 25 games
This has been the most publicized slump of all the Cubs, to no surprise. He is a main anchor of the team and much attention is on him. Swanson's season slash heading into Saturday's action is at .244/.328/.417, which dropped from .266/.350/.446 on August 1st. The 29-year old veteran shortstop is prone to go through ups and downs at the plate and hopefully, he goes back to being the productive guy he was for most of the season. At least no matter what he is still an elite defender.
.167/.243/.318 - 11/66 with 2 home runs, 9 RBI, 20 strikeouts and .561 OPS in last 20 games
In his second stint with the Cubs, Candelario has 25 hits going into Saturday's action. 14 of those came in his first eight games back, in which he hit .483. Since then he has cooled off. It has kind of flown under the radar since he plays down in the order. The strikeout rate in the past 20 games is at 27 percent and has had some rough swings at sliders and offspeed lately. Overall he has had a really good year so it is okay to have hopes he will bust out of it.
.152/.221/.317 - 12/79 with 3 home runs, 4 doubles, 11 RBI, 31 strikeouts and .537 OPS since August 1st
It has been a frustrating go for Morel over the past month, outside of his heroic walkoff homer against the White Sox. Morel is sporting a 36 percent strikeout rate over that span and seems to be really pressing. There was a point in the season where it seemed like laying off certain pitches looked much improved from his rookie year. Still being only 24, and the type of approach he takes as a hitter (some get Javy Baez vibes at times) there are going to be some growing pains and struggles at times. We saw it last year too. When he is hot, we know how exciting he can be. Hopefully that returns soon.
.132/.258/.132 - 7/53 with no homers and .390 OPS over last 16 games
Tauchman has been an unsung hero for the Cubs most of the year. He had a number of clutch hits and the epic home run robbery against the Cardinals to seal a dramatic win. He has accomplished more this season than anyone would have thought as a guy who initially did not make the roster out of Spring Training. Tauchman is a guy who has bounced around as organizational depth in his career and sports a career of .238/.336/.378 average, showing he can put together professional at-bats but not necessarily hit for average. Would love to see him heat up again, but his role might evolve as September rolls on.
.183/.319/.317 - 11/60 with 2 homers, 2 doubles, 20 strikeouts and .636 OPS over last 23 games
This feels like some expected rookie growing pains. He got off to a really nice start but has hit that "rookie wall". He is striking out roughly 28 percent of the time over this stretch. The nice thing is he is taking some walks (and has gotten hit four times) so the OBP over this stretch does not look awful. It is probably difficult not playing every day to make adjustments as quickly, but he will grow as time goes on.
There is roughly a month left in the year and the Cubs will want to find some consistency offensively for this final stretch. They have some big games coming up and will need to take some pressure off the pitching.