The Chicago Cubs suffered a major blow to their offense and defense. Starting catcher Wilson Contreras is out for four to six weeks with a hamstring tear. Victor Caratini was called up to fill in the roster spot and take on the role as backup to Alex Avila. The Cubs have been slumping as the team's lead in the division is just one game over the St. Louis Cardinals, so this injury could not have come at a worse time.

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Time for Rizzo, Bryant, and Zobrist to step up

Contreras has been the Cubs' MVP since July. Contreras raised his batting average from .253 on July 1st to .274 when he was injured. That included 12 home runs and 32 runs batted in. Kris Bryant has had a down year despite putting up relatively okay numbers, but he is hitting .220 with runners in scoring position. Zobrist has also declined as he is hitting .225 on the season.

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Regardless, these three were the heart of the lineup last season. Contreras gave the Cubs' lineup a pop when he was inserted in the fourth hole, but now someone has to pick up the slack for the next month. The good news is that Contreras will return this season, but the question is: Will the Cubs keep their lead?

Time to shine, Alex Avila

The Cubs made it a point to get a backup catcher at the trade deadline. That's why the team unloaded Eloy Jimenez, the ninth best prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com, Dylan Cease, and two other minor league players for Avila and Justin Wilson.

After the Cubs designated Miguel Montero for assignment back in June, the Cubs didn't have a backup plan. With Avila, the Cubs have an experienced catcher that has been to the playoffs, and knows about these late season situations.

Avila may not have the power that Contreras has, but he has a steady bat this season. Avila is batting .274 for the season, but is hitting .111 with the Cubs. His defense will provide support for the team, but his bat will need to pick it up as well. Avila hit his first home run with the Cubs on August 5th when the team played the Nationals.

Just hold on for a month

If Contreras can make a speedy recovery and return in September, then the Cubs can possibly fend off the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cardinals. The best part about playing in the worst division in the majors is that the Cubs can play up to the capacity of the division. The division has been very average all year despite the Cardinals going on a hot streak. The Cubs will just have to hold on to their small lead, and take it one game at a time.

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They should be used to that mantra, as coach Joe Maddon preaches it every day.

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