5/25 Extra bases

* Anthony Rizzo isn’t the only Cubs player who is struggling at the plate. Starlin Castro is 4-for-17 in the last four games, and his slugging percentage in May is .318.

“There’s not a lot of hard contact going on right now,” manager Dale Sveum said of the shortstop’s at-bats. “Getting to two strikes, he’s really expanding, and he’s got to make some adjustments, too. The league adjusts to him because of the way he approaches hitting.”

Castro entered Saturday’s game batting .270. Compare that to previous years. Castro was batting .328 on May 25, 2010; .330 on May 25, 2011; and .315 on May 25 last year.

* The leash comes off Matt Garza when he makes his second start since coming off the disabled list. Garza will start the series finale against the Reds on Sunday. He’ll be allowed to throw up to 110 pitches, depending on the situation and whether he has any stressful innings.

* Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Scott Feldman have all homered this month, and, according to Elias, this is the first time three Cubs pitchers have done so in the same calendar month since Aug 1961 when Jack Curtis, Bob Anderson and Don Cardwell all went deep.

Cubs pitchers have 15 RBIs in May. Sveum joked that Feldman could bat third if he gives Anthony Rizzo a day off. What about using one of the pitchers in the Interleague games as the designated hitter against the White Sox?

“Don’t think I haven’t thought of that one,” Sveum said, laughing.

— Carrie Muskat

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