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Cubs recall red-hot hitter to try and spark offense

1 year agoAndy Martinez

The Cubs’ offense is looking for a spark.

They’re hoping one of their hottest hitters in the minors can be that catalyst.

The team recalled Nick Madrigal from Triple-A Iowa on Friday, optioning infielder Miles Mastrobuoni to the minors. In 11 games with the I-Cubs, Madrigal was hitting .488/.580/.854/256 weighted runs created plus, with a home run, 6 doubles and 3 triples. David Ross immediately inserted him into the leadoff role for Friday’s series opener against the Giants in San Francisco.

Since scoring 10 runs in a win over the Phillies on May 19, the Cubs offense has averaged 2.67 runs per game and have been shut out 3 times in those 18 games. Collectively, the offense is slashing .186/.280/.297/63 wRC+ in that time with 15 home runs and 182 strikeouts.

Ross rearranged his lineup against righty Anthony DeSclafani; here’s how they lined up at Oracle Park, looking to snap their 4-game losing streak:

Nick Madrigal, 2B
Mike Tauchman, CF
Seiya Suzuki, RF
Ian Happ, DH
Dansby Swanson, SS
Matt Mervis, 1B
Patrick Wisdom, 3B
Christopher Morel, LF
Tucker Barnhart, C

The lineup has three lefties in it, plus switch-hitter Happ. Lefties have hit .300/.324/.464 against DeSclafani this season. Ross and the Cubs are hopeful that Madrigal can kickstart the offense and carry over his strong performances in Triple-A to the majors. In moving Happ and Swanson down in the order, the goal is likely to have them come up to bat with more traffic on the base paths. Since that 10-run outburst in Philadelphia, the Cubs are hitting .217 with runners in scoring position. 

Madrigal struggled to find playing time earlier this season and could never really settle into a groove offensively — he was hitting .247/.286/.301/62 wRC+ in 98 plate appearances before he was optioned to make room for Kyle Hendricks on May 24.

Mastrobuoni has hit .161/.266/.196 with 2 doubles in 64 plate appearances this year.

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