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It isn’t quite time to press the panic button on the North Side, but we’re past the point where the Chicago Cubs Jersey get a pass. The early part of the season is finished, and a 5-0 beatdown by rival St. Louis emphasized the holes in the Cubs’ lineup. We asked our panel to address the problems plaguing the World Series champions and, more importantly, how the team can fix those issues.
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Should Joe Maddon shake up the lineup?Jesse Rogers: If leadoff man Kyle Schwarber Jersey were the only struggling player, it might make sense. But Anthony Rizzo Jersey is hitting .213, Addison Russell Jersey is .226, and Ben Zobrist Jersey is .223. Batting average isn’t the tell-all about a player, but when that many individuals are struggling, it’s hard to imagine that just changing the order will make much of a difference. Maddon can do it, but the Cubs’ best hitters need to be the best hitters, no matter the batting order.
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Bradford Doolittle: The lineup will get going whether or not Schwarber is swapped out of the leadoff spot. Of the nine players with the most plate appearances for the Cubs, eight have a below-average OPS+, with Kris Bryant Jersey as the exception. That isn’t going to last. Schwarber will get hot at some point, as will Rizzo, Zobrist, etc. If you want to use Zobrist in the leadoff spot to get a few more balls in play, though, that might make sense, especially against lefties.Game Nick Vincent Jersey Why is the defense regressing?Rogers: I think the numbers are misleading. If you look at the statistics, Schwarber is the one guy dragging the defense down. That should not be surprising; everyone knew his play in left field wasn’t going to be his strong suit. I would contend that Baez is more disappointing. He was all-world last year but has already made five errors and has generally not looked as sharp. The rest of the team has been OK, though Willson Contreras Jersey needs to rein it in a little when it comes to throwing the ball. Other than left field, I don’t th