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Cubs Stock Market Report: Where’s the offense?

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The offense is still struggling, but Cubs pitching has been excellent.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Despite some concerning offensive woes, the Cubs went 4-3 this week, lowering their magic number to 11.

Must Buy Stocks:

Jose Quintana: Quintana continued his tear through the National League Central, pitching 11⅔ innings, surrendering only two runs while striking out 14 in the process. Over his last six games, Quintana owns a 2.10 ERA, with five of those six starts coming against division foes. His ability to command his fastball through this six game stretch has been superb; let’s hope he can continue his run through the end of the regular season and beyond.

Javier Baez: Give this man the MVP. Baez almost singlehandedly won the Cubs rainout game against the Nats, clobbering an oppo taco and executing a perfect safety squeeze bunt to earn the Cubs the victory against the Nats. Not only is this man one of the most exciting players in baseball to watch, he’s also one of the best.

Solid Investments:

Kris Bryant: We’re seeing signs of the former MVP’s return, as he went 7-for-22 this week, including three doubles. He wore the golden sombrero against the Reds on Saturday, but aside from that game, Bryant’s new swing hasn’t given my any reason to believe that he’ll be a changed player going forward. I think he’ll break out over these next two weeks.

Penny Stocks:

Ian Happ: Happ had one huge hit this week, a three-run homer in the seventh inning that propelled the Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Reds. But that was the only hit he had in 14 at-bats this week. It’s been a sobering sophomore season for Happ, who’s batting .180/.293/.331 (70 wRC+) since the start of the 2nd half. He can change a game with the swing of a bat, but I think we’ll probably come off the bench when the postseason starts.

Anthony Rizzo: It was another poor week for Rizzo, he recored three singles in 23 at-bats this week en route to a -7 wRC+. He got a much needed day off on Saturday, one that will hopefully keep him fresh down the stretch.

Willson Contreras: If you’re going to admire a home run, you better be sure it leaves the yard. Contreras hasn’t hit a homer since August 1, so he has undoubtedly been itching to hit one. Well, it didn’t happen in Sunday’s game, and he nearly got thrown out at second to boot. It’s been a very unforgettable year for Willson.

Blaming Joe Maddon for Pedro Strop’s injury: If Strop really does miss the rest of the season, that could prove to be the fatal blow to the Cubs’ 2018 season. After stepping into the batter’s box with the bases loaded in a 3-2 game with one out, Strop smashed a rocket to third, which was then thrown to home and thrown to first. Strop injured his hamstring on the way down to first, and the Cubs season ended. With Tommy La Stella sitting on the bench, it was a curious decision from Joe to let someone who had already thrown 21 pitches bat in that situation. But there was only one out. All Pedro Strop had to do was look at three strikes, then pass the baton to Addison Russell. Or, if Strop really wanted to swing (as he did), he shouldn't be busting his ass down the line when the Cubs are already up one. Could you argue Joe Maddon played the right cards for this situation to come to a head? Sure. But you have to pass most of the blame onto Strop who has to know that an insurance run in that situation isn’t worth losing your closer for the rest of the regular season.

Buy/Sell:

Buy: This team needs a day off. When you report to the ballpark for 30 straight days, you’re going to be exhausted by the end of that stretch. And that’s what we’re seeing with Cubs hitters right now. The Cubs failed to score more than three runs in all but one game this week, yet they still managed to win four of the seven they played. That’s a sign of a good team. Winning even when everything isn’t clicking.

Sell: The Cubs won’t be able to close games without Pedro Strop. The Pedro Strop injury was a devastating one, but not one that completely derails this team’s chance at a World Series this year. Brandon Morrow should be back sometime this week, and we’ve already seen Maddon piece together saves since Strop’s injury. And who knows, depending on how far the Cubs make it in the postseason, Strop may be able to return.

Poll

Who’s to blame for the Pedro Strop injury?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Joe Maddon
    (109 votes)
  • 5%
    Pedro Strop
    (20 votes)
  • 64%
    No one. Freak injuries happen
    (237 votes)
366 votes total Vote Now