While the Chicago Cubs are back in first place, all is not well for the defending World Series champs. If there was one big hole in the team's lineup entering the season it was leadoff hitter after the departure of Dexter Fowler. Chicago decided the best chance the squad had to fill that hole was put someone who has shown an ability to get on base and truly put fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers.

The choice of the Cubs was Kyle Schwarber, but the man better known as “Hulk” has had a rather rough go of it in 2017. The season has gone so poorly in fact that he was demoted from leadoff and now his manager has said he will be part of a platoon.

Chicago Cubs still looking for answers on Schwarber

Joe Maddon told ESPN until further notice, the team’s starting left fielder is going to be going up against right handed pitchers only. The statement is quite the fall from grace for a man who is largely credited with helping lead his team to the World Series win.

The demotion, from leadoff and then out of the starting lineup makes sense, considering Schwarber is hitting just .181 this season. While he’s shown some power, hitting seven home runs, his slugging percentage is way down from his career numbers. His on base percentage is also sitting at just .299 and is also well below career norms.

Is demotion the next step for the Chicago Cubs?

"My concern when a guy is struggling a little bit is, you don't want him to get too many at-bats," Maddon said after a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was this game, against a tough left handed pitcher that it appears people started noticing the lessened playing time for Schwarber.

The real question now is just how far the demotions are going to go if Schwarber doesn’t turn his season around. Maddon has already said he thinks giving the player who is struggling the way Kyle is too many bad at-bats could lead to the player getting in his own head.

The Cubs manager has said he believes it will be easier to get back to a number he’s “more comfortable with.”

If that number doesn’t arrive soon, it could be time for Schwarber to be sent down to Iowa. It’s not unheard of, the Kansas City Royals once demoted prized prospect Mike Moustakas. While that’s obviously the last thing the team wants to do with Hulk, it appears Maddon and company are running out of answers as to how to try and fix him.

Platooning is the latest solution but may not be the final move for a franchise that needs to find more offense in 2017.

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