Yesterday’s roller coaster affair against the Cincinnati Reds cost the Cubs more than another game in the standings. After tying the game up at 12 runs with a three-run blast in the top of the 8th inning, Ian Happ collided with Nico Hoerner on a bloop pop-up that left him lying on the ground – mostly motionless – before being carted off the field. And although Hoerner stayed in the game thereafter, he was certainly banged up too.
Both guys are out of the lineup this evening against the Dodgers, and David Ross has a little more on their status (though not as much as we’d likely hope):
Ross: Both Happ and Hoerner dealing with a lot of soreness today after Sunday's collision in the outfield. Going through a number of tests today. Not much information yet, as Ross needed to await the outcome of the testing and get feedback from team docs.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 3, 2021
When it comes to Happ, I tend to think his absence from the lineup tonight signals a little bit more about his status than it does for Hoerner. Happ’s left-handed bat would’ve matched up well with Walker Buehler’s splits (as we discussed when the lineup came out) *and* it could’ve prevented Kris Bryant from being forced to start in center field for the first time since the very beginning of his rookie season (2015). In other words, if he were good to go, I would’ve expected him to start tonight.
Hoerner, by contrast, might’ve gotten a game off tonight anyway, because Buehler has been absolutely brutal on righties. Maybe he would’ve been in there for his glove (or hot streak) anyway, but it just feels less telling for that reason. In other words, if he was borderline ready to start, taking a breather makes a lot more sense.
I suspect we’ll know much more about Hoerner’s status tomorrow, when a lefty, Clayton Kershaw, is on the mound. If he doesn’t start in that game, we can begin to be more concerned. For now, I’m hoping it’s just bumps and bruises for him.
For Happ, some have been concerned about a potential concussion, and David Ross was reportedly cagey about that, but I’ve heard that’s not likely to be the case. Indeed, it seems his mid-section-ribs may have taken more of the force than we originally suspected. That’s not necessarily any better for his productivity, but that’s hardly our concern right now. We just want both guys to be OK.
Meanwhile, if Happ and Hoerner are both unavailable tonight, the Cubs bench will be pretty light, with just two position players (Jake Marisnick and Eric Sogard), besides the backup catcher Tony Wolters.