The Cubs have reason to be worried about their offense. They don’t seem too concerned about Kyle Schwarber.
To start the third inning of their 4-0 loss to the Twins, Cubs manager David Ross replaced Schwarber in left field with Cameron Maybin. Ross said Schwarber isn’t injured but kept the reason for the decision in-house, declining to answer whether he made the switch because of how Schwarber played Jake Cave’s second-inning triple to the left-field corner.
Ross praised Schwarber, saying he “brings it every day.”
“Like a lot of our guys, he busts it every time out there,” Ross said. “He’s a guy that they rely on in the middle of our order, just scuffling a little bit at the plate. In here putting in the work, trying to get better like a lot of our offensive players.”
Schwarber also kept the reason private but said Cave should not have ended up with a triple. Schwarber said that he overpursued the ball and it went over him and that he could have reached it sooner when it was on the ground. Cave eventually scored on Max Kepler’s groundout to second.
“Me personally, I think the guy shouldn’t have gotten to third base there,” Schwarber said. “I put Yu [Darvish] in a tough spot, and I just don’t think that guy should’ve gotten to third base, and he did. I put [Darvish] in a bad spot. I put the team in a bad spot there, and I guess you’ve got to learn from it and move on.
“I think it’s obviously not the ideal way to learn from it, but you know what, I think that I can take a lot of different punches. I pride myself on being a team guy and a guy who’s going to play this game 120% every play. I think my teammates understand that. I think Rossy understands that, as well. Just moving on from it, looking forward to Pittsburgh.”
Replacing Schwarber wasn’t the only move Ross made Sunday. He also jumbled the lineup to slot Kris Bryant (third) and Javy Baez (seventh) in their respective spots for the first time this year.
Against Jose Berrios, there wasn’t much of a change as the Cubs finished the three-game series with two runs and are hitting .224. They were held to four hits Sunday, none after the fourth.
“Just one of those little stretches you go through during a season when you’re not able to string a lot of hits together,” Ross said.
The Cubs hope their offense can wake up and help a rotation that’s headed by Darvish, who lasted six-plus innings and gave up four runs to lose ground in the Cy Young chase. But it’s clear the lack of production could give the team pause.
“In a normal season, I would have zero concern just because you feel like we’re going to play for four more months and guys will get hot,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Great players don’t struggle for six months. In a normal season, you know that’s not going to happen. This year’s different. The clock can run out, and some of these guys never get a chance to get hot. It is different that way.”
Schwarber, who’s hitting .190, saw his numbers jump in the second half last year. He and his teammates don’t have that luxury now.
“The numbers are what they are,” Schwarber said. “There’s no changing it. We want to get to postseason baseball, and when we’re in postseason baseball, doing what we do and try to get to the ultimate goal there.”