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Three up, three down: A weekly update on the 2022 Cubs, June 6 edition

The Cubs played better this week, but it’s still not all that good.

Christopher Morel’s play and enthusiasm are some of the best things about the 2022 Cubs
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Cubs won four and lost five on their most recent homestand, or if you include the pair they split with the White Sox, they went 5-6 on their just-ended stay in Chicago. Though the Sox are under .500, they, the Brewers and Cardinals are all considered postseason contenders, and the Cubs played them pretty even all week.

So that’s good!

The Cubs’ home record of 11-20 still isn’t, though.

Here’s this week’s “Three up, three down.”

Three up

Willson Contreras remains a hot hitter

In six games played since the last update, Contreras is hitting .348/.483/.696 (8-for-23) with two doubles, two home runs, four walks and six runs scored.

Extend the man, Jed.

Hey, look, it’s Rafael Ortega!

Ortega, off to a very slow start, is 7-for-15 over his last four games with a pair of walks and two doubles. In 10 games since May 26 he’s batting .482/.563/.667 (13-for-27), including a home run, and has raised his season OPS to .743, with 0.6 bWAR. That’s serviceable for a guy who’s basically a placeholder.

Christopher Morel keeps his streak alive

Morel’s streak of reaching base is now 20 games, a franchise record for the start of a career, and over his last seven games he’s batting .300/.371/.467 (9-for-30) with three doubles, a triple and four walks. He’s played well at several positions and it looks like he’s in the big leagues to stay.

Honorable mention to Matt Swarmer and Caleb Kilian for their solid MLB debut starts. They could both be significant parts of the team’s future.

Three down

The team batting with RISP is terrible

Over the nine-game homestand, the Cubs went 22-for-113 (.195) with runners in scoring position. They had excellent chances to win basically every game except the 14-5 loss on Friday, but simply didn’t come through with runners on. Overall this year the Cubs rank 19th in MLB with RISP at .239, and that .195 BA would be MLB-worst for the full season (and by a lot, the Pirates are worst at .203).

This simply has to improve.

What is wrong with Marcus Stroman?

The Cardinals just pounded Stroman on Friday and he’s been so up and down this year. He’s got three starts in which he’s allowed one run or fewer, but also three in which he’s allowed five or more runs.

He’s better than this. Hope he gets straightened out soon.

Andrelton Simmons cannot hit. At all.

Believe it or not, there are actually six players this year who have as many PA as Simmons (47) and have a lower OPS. (Eddie Rosario, Carson Kelly, Billy McKinney, Adalberto Mondesi, Jason Castro and Robinson Cano). Several of those players are injured and a couple have been released.

That’s what should happen with Simmons, who was a terrible hitter in 2021 and is worse this year: .178/.196/.178. He’s 8-for-45, all singles. Even his defense isn’t as good as before; it seems clear that the shoulder injury that delayed the start to his 2022 season is still not 100 percent.

When Seiya Suzuki or David Bote or anyone else is ready to return, just release him. This was a bad signing.

Poll

Give the Cubs a grade for the 2022 season to date.

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (6 votes)
  • 43%
    C
    (180 votes)
  • 45%
    D
    (187 votes)
  • 8%
    F
    (34 votes)
410 votes total Vote Now