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The Travails of Youth, Zobrist’s Wrist, World’s Best Leadoff Hitter, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News
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That was awful.

No, I don’t mean the Cubs’ loss last night – although that, too, was awful – I mean a serious site problem that popped up between last night and this morning, which took hours and hours to correct. Hopefully it is now corrected, but you may still see remnants of buggy stuff as various fixes populate the web (clearing your cache and cookies may help expedite that process for you, specifically).

And now I get to turn to the Cubs’ woes … hooray …

  • For his part, Joe Maddon continues to point to the Cubs’ overall youth when discussing the team’s struggles (CSN): “(Ian) Happ didn’t play in the big leagues last year. (Willson) Contreras played half a season. (Kyle) Schwarber did not play at all. (Javy) Baez was a backup player. And (Albert) Almora came up in the middle of the season. I love my names as much as everybody else does. But these are really young and inexperienced guys. What you’re primarily seeing is young guys battling to get back to what we had been last year without the benefit of having veteran experience.”
  • Not every player who is struggling is a youngster, of course, but there is at least a little bit of nuance in what Maddon is saying: the younger players are kind of dealing with a double whammy. Not only are they struggling with their own various adjustments and travails, but they are also doing so at the big league level without much, if any, experience getting through struggles at the big league level. And with the team underperforming overall, I’d imagine the pressure feels that much more significant. How you get out of that spiral, exactly, I can’t say for sure. It’s probably very idiosyncratic, player to player.

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(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
  • One of the struggling veterans is Ben Zobrist, but it sure seems like he’s got a physical explanation: his poorest stretch of the season has overlapped precisely with the time he’s been dealing with this wrist issue (since late May). He could be getting an MRI (CSN), and then the Cubs will make a decision about whether to send him to the disabled list. If Tommy La Stella hadn’t been injured at Iowa (he only just returned this week), I wonder if a decision would have been made sooner to DL Zobrist. It was a bit odd to let him keep playing through discomfort that was not permitting him to bat from the right side, but it sounds like it just kind of kept lingering at not-quite-bad-enough-to-sit, but then it didn’t get any better.
  • Kyle Hendricks is set to have a second MRI on his hand (ESPN). It’s hard to project a timeline for him, because the hope had been that he would return this weekend. After a throwing session earlier this week did not go well, that plan was scrapped.
  • Anthony Rizzo jokes that he’s the greatest leadoff hitter of all-time. With a .333/.400/1.111 line in his two games there, he might be right. No stolen bases, though …

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  • Well this is certainly something positive:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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