Sunday, June 2, 2024

Cubs Star Gets Much-Needed Day Off

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Dansby Swanson Gets Day Off vs. Mets

I know that Dansby Swanson prides himself in playing most if not all 162 games, but like we saw last season maybe there are times when the manager has to step in and give a guy a day off instead of letting a problem get worse. The Cubs shortstop is not starting in the team’s series finale against the New York Mets on Thursday and honestly I’m surprised it’s taken this long, but it’s a much-needed day off for Swanson.

We’ve seen the poor throws in the past week and while I had a little freak out after Swanson’s throwing error that led to a three-run home run on Tuesday night, I’m confident his defense will be just fine. However, there’s no denying that something looks off about Swanson recently and that has also extended to his at-bats.

In Wednesday night’s 1-0 win in New York, Swanson went 1-for-4 with a single, but struck out three times. Going back to April 20, Swanson only has 8 hits in his last 40 at-bats, with 16 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 43 plate appearances.

Nico Hoerner is the starting shortstop Thursday, which means Nick Madrigal is filling in at second base.

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Maybe Swanson is dealing with a minor injury and is playing through it because the Cubs are already without Seiya Suzuki and Cody Bellinger in the middle of the lineup. Plus, we know Ian Happ has been bothered by a hamstring strain and he has also struggled at the plate the last few weeks. Yet, playing hurt, while admirable, is really only hurting the team right now, so hopefully a day off Thursday and a chance to reset before going back to Chicago will help Swanson.

So far in 2024, Swanson has a slash line of .234/.301/.360, with three home runs. That was after slashing .268/.367/.488, through the first 12 games of the season.

Dip in Defense

Dansby Swanson’s defense has been bad at least when we compare it to Dansby Swanson. The back-to-back gold glove winning shortstop is currently ranked 15th in outs above average according to Baseball Savant’s leaderboard and while errors aren’t always the best indicator of how good a player is on defense, Swanson’s early-season struggles has certainly been a surprise for Cubs fans. Swanson is also in the middle of the pack in defensive runs saved, currently at 0 on FanGraphs fielding leaderboard.

In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the sixth inning on Tuesday, J.D. Martinez hit a ground ball to short and Swanson fielded it cleanly, but then unleashed a two-seamer to first base. Now, I completely understand that a good first baseman is probably making this play or at least getting a glove on it, but guess what Patrick Wisdom isn’t a good first baseman and Swanson is supposed to be a gold glove shortstop.

I’m sorry, but my expectations are much higher for Swanson in these types of plays and he once again put in a terrible effort.

That’s Swanson’s second throwing error in the past three games and his third on the season. He has four total errors already. Bleacher Nation noted that Swanson had a total of 8 errors in 161 games with the Atlanta Braves during the 2021 season and so far in 2024 the shortstop is on pace for 22 errors entering the month of May.

So yeah, hopefully it’s nothing serious and it doesn’t require a stint on the injured list like it did last season, but if Swanson is dealing with something, then good because then we at least know why his throwing has been so bad. And if that’s the case, then Craig Counsell should give Swanson a few days off because he’s also hurting the team on offense.

Anyway, the Cubs team defense has been horrid across the board this season and that was once again the storyline Tuesday night. After Swanson’s error, Adbert Alzolay gave up a single and then with two outs the Mets made the Cubs pay for their bad defense.

I mean, that’s just an awful pitch from Alzolay, who has been giving up home runs at an incredible pace. So, that also sucks for the Cubs.

The Mets won 4-2 and all four of their runs were unearned.

Javier Assad pitched five innings and the only run he gave up came in the first inning after Wisdom threw a ball into left field. Assad had thrown over to first base and had Francisco Lindor picked off, but Wisdom couldn’t get the out and threw the ball away. The Mets ended up scoring on a sac-fly after Lindor ended up at third base on Wisdom’s error.

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timgjerde56
May 3, 2024 6:04 am

You’re absolutely right it’s not time to panic, yet. But remember we missed the playoffs last year by one game. Every loss due to fixable or due to the roster being thin in certain areas like relief pitching or competent 1B options(fielding) is one that could potentially be a problem of not addressed soon. 6 or 7 of these losses and Milwaukee will leave us in the dust again.

We’ve been forewarned now that it’s a necessity to start at least looking for depth beyond the rookies if we want to assure a playoff spot.

blockwood9
blockwood9
May 1, 2024 3:33 pm

18/12 with all the injuries the Cubs have already taken on, and still being top of their division?
I’m not too worried at this point. As the weather heats up, I believe the Cubs bats will start popping, and as the pitching injuries clear up, the Cubs should be in good position to face the long season.
Injuries and slumps happen. But, it’s not exclusive to the Cubs. They’re holding up well under the circumstances, and hopefully we’ll see them in the post season making a deep run.

BearCub30
Apr 30, 2024 8:23 pm

Who’s got an over abundance of reliable relievers on their team? Let’s get on the phone hoyer!!!

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