The Chicago Cubs were a sly pick for several MLB experts to make some noise in 2023. That hasn’t happened yet. Who’s to blame for the team’s slow start?
Well, it could be worse, Cubs fans. You could be cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals. All kidding aside, the season hasn’t gotten off to a horrific start, but the expectations have been raised heading into 2023.
While last season was seen as the start of the Cubs rebuild after jettisoning the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez, this year Chicago was expected to be somewhat competitive in a relatively weak NL Central Division.
If the Cubs are going to make a run this season, some of those players who’ve started slow have got to pick things up. Let’s look at three Chicago Cubs players who’ve contributed to the team’s slow start?
3. Cubs reliever Javier Assad deserves some blame for Chicago’s slow start
Javier Assad’s poor performance to begin the season came with consequences. The Cubs reliever was optioned to Triple-A this week and outfielder Nelson Velasquez was brought up to the big league squad.
Assad was lights out during spring training and in the World Baseball Classic, but his star seemed to dull once the regular season began. Though he made just two relief appearances during the first two weeks of the season, David Ross and company had seen enough.
Assad went 4.1 innings of work and allowed six earned runs on six hits while walking two and striking out five. The right-hander blew his lone save opportunity this season and Chicago is now going with 12 pitchers instead of 13. Hopefully, this trip to Iowa is productive for Javier Assad.