Russell's Offensive Woes, Schwarber's Leadoff Success, Terrible BABIP Luck(?), and Other Bullets

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Russell’s Offensive Woes, Schwarber’s Leadoff Success, Terrible BABIP Luck(?), and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Three of the five of the Taylor Household have gotten the stomach bug, and just me and The Little Boy have avoided it so far. In his life, he’s generally been impervious to this kind of stuff, so he’s probably fine. Me, though? Generally, the way these things go is I play the part of stand-in hero for a few days, everyone gets well, and then I crash hard. So, I guess look for me to be puking my guts out on Monday. Better go eat some good food before that happens …

  • Kyle Schwarber gets another leadoff opportunity today, and why not? He has been fantastic in the role this year (unlike the previous experiment there), and he’s blistering hot: .270/.383/.676 (165 wRC+) over the last 10 days, .268/.411/.524 (140) over the last month.

  • Addison Russell is also starting today, and although he has had some goofs, his glove has mostly been fine at second base. But the bat so far in his return from AAA and his domestic violence suspension? It has been thoroughly unplayable through 39 plate appearances, the same amount Mark Zagunis had, incidentally, and he just got sent down. Russell: .200/.263/.314, 55 wRC+, 33.3% hard contact rate, 57.7(!)% groundball rate. Given that he has yet to be an above-average hitter in the big leagues and has been close to 20% below league average the last two+ years, it’s not as if we can just assume he’ll suddenly be a productive hitter, even with prospect pedigree and a relatively young age (25). I’m sure the Cubs would love it if he were raking right now to give them some options on the trade market, but right now, he’s barely been worth carrying as a bench player – propped up by the fact that Daniel Descalso has also been terrible at the plate, Ben Zobrist is out, Ian Happ is still working on things, and no one else at AAA is really forcing anyone’s hand.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Stray thought that I haven’t fully formed yet: with all the bs BABIP luck the Cubs seem to be having on the ground on defense lately (i.e., just seems like a crapload of balls are finding holes), are we just thinking that’s bad luck flukes? Or is there a chance that some of the defensive positioning was not ideal in certain matchups?
  • By the way, it’s not just us noticing with our eyes – the Cubs’ BABIP against the last 10 days has been .353, by FAR the highest in baseball, despite their contact data suggesting they should have been more like middle of the pack.

  • Missing Travis Wood for a number of reasons these days:

  • When you show up in a headline as a parallel to the Orioles, you know things are going great:

  • That’s the struggling Michael Wacha headed to the bullpen. Given how good the Cardinals’ pitching looked on paper heading into the season, it has been an almost universally remarkable disaster in both the rotation and the bullpen.
  • Michael has jokes:

  • The fashionaBears, apparently:

  • Bulls point guard targets:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.