And just like that, half the Chicago Cubs roster is hurt.
Not really, but on a day that saw the Cubs sweep away the Atlanta Braves for their fourth —fourth!— four-game series sweep of the season, there was little report of anything negative out of the North Side beyond groin tightness for shortstop Addison Russell –resulting in a “day-to-day” diagnosis.
It turns out Russell’s injury was the least concerning of the day. Outfielder Jorge Soler is expected to be out a month with an oblique strain, and pitcher Jason Motte joins him on the disabled list with a shoulder strain.
Motte has struggled in recent weeks, which the injury may or may not account for, but Soler had started showing signs of improvement at the plate. In August, Soler has a line of .284/.372/.388. He’s still not slugging where the Cubs ultimately hope he will, but the .372 OBP is looking better and better. Long-term picture not withstanding, it’s unfortunate timing for Soler to get hurt –for he and the Cubs both.
What this has done is allow for the long-awaited return of Tommy La Stella, who is battling back from a seemingly-eternal oblique injury of his own. The Cubs offense unquestionably takes a hit with Soler heading to the DL, but La Stella isn’t a meaningless piece of roster filling, as the Cubs lineup will seemingly benefit from La Stella’s penchant for making contact –only 106 strikeouts in more than 1,200 career plate appearances across the minors and majors. Zac Rosscup has also been called up to replace Motte in the bullpen.
The disappointing thing is that you hate to see the Cubs have to change anything given the tear they’re currently on: 20-5 since being swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in late July.
The Cubs currently sit twenty games above .500, and hold a six game lead for the second National League wild card spot.