Chicago Cubs: The real reason why the Cubs are struggling

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs continue to get men on base among the best in baseball but they are among the worst with runners in scoring position.

The Chicago Cubs have now dropped their third consecutive series after a rain-delayed game on Saturday that ultimately ended early Sunday morning. In fact, the team has dropped their last 4-of-6 series after winning or at least splitting their previous 10.

Yes, the bullpen has not been reliable with injuries to Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop. The Cubs will be getting Strop back soon and could also be getting a big name closer as early as Monday. However, the team has been downright awful with runners in scoring position this year.

It’s actually be a three-year trend now for a team trying to win its second World Series since 2016. The Cubs have a young core with immense talent but this issue with RISP has been hindering them for awhile now.

As noted above, the Cubs have been in the bottom half of the National League in terms of batting average with RISP. They have been great getting guys on base with a 0.344 on-base-percentage (OBP) this season, which is good for 2nd in the NL. Last season, the team had an OBP of 0.333, which was also good for 2nd in the NL and in 2017 they had the best OBP in the NL (0.338).

For whatever reason, this team freezes with guys in scoring position. Lately, the offense has reverted to 2017 in a home run or nothing style of offense which has been a big factor why they have lost three consecutive series. Not to mention the bullpen can’t hold a lead.

Consider the following player’s batting averages with RISP this season:

That’s more than half the regular lineup that is failing to even be somewhat decent at getting base hits with RISP. Adding in the pitcher that nobody expects to hit anyways, you have just three guys in the lineup that are reliable with RISP in Anthony Rizzo (0.293), Javier Baez (0.294) and Willson Contreras (0.317).

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As of Sunday morning, the Cubs find themselves a half game out of first place and just 6 games over the 0.500 mark. The team will definitely be getting bullpen help here shortly but it will not matter if the Cubs offense continues to fail in key situations.