Everyone knew the Chicago Cubs had to make a call on Kris Bryant sooner than later. Bryant hadn’t played since June 22 due to a sore left shoulder, leaving the Cubs a man down for the past three games.
On Tuesday, the Cubs decided to place him on the disabled list, which means they’ll be without their starting third baseman for a little bit longer:
Bryant’s injury comes at a poor time for the Cubs. They’ve lost five consecutive games, including an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Chicago is currently in Los Angeles, taking on the Dodgers in a four-game set that doubles as both a rematch of last year’s National League Championship Series and a plausible preview of this year’s. As such, the Cubs would’ve liked to have been at or near full strength for this set.
Instead, the Cubs will play the remaining three games without Bryant, who hits the disabled list with a 129 OPS+. That figure is the highest among Cubs hitters, just above Kyle Schwarber. Losing arguably your most productive hitter is a difficult proposition for any team, the Cubs included.
Ian Happ is an above-average hitter who figures to get most of the action at the hot corner, but he nonetheless represents a downgrade at the plate and in the field. There’s also the matter of Bryant’s injury weakening the Cubs against lefties, as the switch-hitting Happ has been markedly better as a left-handed hitter throughout his brief big-league career.
The hope for the Cubs is that Bryant will be ready to roll next week. And that, in the interim, they’ll be able to find their way back onto the right side of the ledger before then.