The Right Boost at the Right Time
It has been no secret, the Chicago Cubs have been in a funk. Averaging just two runs a game over their past eight contests. With many fans wondering why the likes of Rene Rivera and Tommy La Stella keep getting starts, and guys like Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora continue to ride the bench.
Cubs manager, Joe Maddon doesn’t mince words this time of year – it is all about who gives the team the best chance to win. They even have a fancy computer which tells them who that is, on any given day.
Luckily for Joe, and Cubs Nation, the Cubs got a HUGE boost on Sunday morning when the club announced that they are activating Willson Contreras.
Willson was in many ways the Cubs leader before he went down to injury. Before he went down, Contreras was slashing .274/.341/.518 with 21 HR and was second on the club with a 3.4 WAR. On top of this, Willson played at an all-star level behind the plate, gunning out 20 would be base-stealers.
The boost Contreras can add is by lengthening the Cubs lineup. Over the past eight games, the team has averaged a mere two runs. The biggest issue seemed to be at the top of the order where they only got 15 hits in 62 at bats over the eight game span. Contreras allows the team to shift Kris Bryant back into the two-hole (which some fans are lukewarm on, to begin with) and extend the meat of the order to their 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 hitters (Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Contreras, Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber). This would/could extend first innings, putting a ton of pressure on the opposing team’s starting pitcher, and allow for them to score more than twice a game.
So with the Cubs season on the line over the course of the next 11 games, Willson is choosing the perfect time to come back to the team. He might not be ready to play a full game behind the plate, but he will certainly increase the Cubs probability to play meaningful October ballgames. Oh, and I’d rather him be playing backstop for the Cubs than trying to slide into Mia’s DM’s.