The Cubs got the win against the Royals as Mike Montgomery threw six-scoreless innings and Cubs blank the Royals 5-0. But the team lost arguably their most valuable hitter not named Javier Baez in Ben Zobrist, as he left Tuesday night's game with reportedly left hip tightness.
#Cubs Maddon says Zobrist couldn't run too well so took him out as precaution. However, Zo may play on Wed in series finale— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 8, 2018
Joe Maddon downplayed the situation, but if Zobrist has to miss any serious time the Cubs may be in some real trouble. Zobrist and his resurgent 2018 season have been one of the biggest reasons the Cubs have been able to overcome a slow start to Anthony Rizzo and multiple DL stints for Kris Bryant.
Zobrist was off to another productive night going 1-2 with an RBI sac fly, a walk, and a run scored while batting third for the Cubs Tuesday night before being pulled. He raised his batting average to .313, which leads the club, further proving just how essential Zobrist is to this Cubs offense that can't seem to find consistency this season.
Especially when you factor in the rough stretch Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ and Albert Almora are currently going through, batting a combined .177 since the All-Star break. Zobrist was helping pick up the slack from a missing Bryant as well as the struggling bats on the roster, not to mention he's also one of the Cubs most patient hitters, as evident in Tuesday nights game.
Ben Zobrist took 5 straight balls out of the strike zone, but somehow had a 3-2 count before finally taking a 6th ball in the at-bat for a walk. pic.twitter.com/qLMmKGraqn— Aldo Soto (@AldoSoto21) August 8, 2018
Prior to Tuesday's game, Zobrist was slashing .311/.395/.462 while walking in 12.3% of his at-bats, and the Cubs don't have any clear candidates to replace his production. Luckily, the hot-hitting David Bote came through Tuesday with a 3-RBI night, and while he has played 30 games it's hard he'll continue to stay this hot for the rest of the season.
The other issue is hip injuries tend to linger, and even if Zobrist is able to play through the injury the 37-year-old showed last year that playing hurt isn't something the Cubs want to see. For now, the Cubs will just have to hope Zobrist will be fine because without him the Cubs are in real trouble of outlasting the Brewers for the National League Central crown.