5/25 Rizzo working through hitting funk

Manager Dale Sveum considered giving Anthony Rizzo a day off Saturday. The Cubs first baseman entered the game 0-for-22 in his last five games.

“Not yet,” Sveum said. “Obviously, it’s a thought but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

Rizzo showed his frustration in the seventh Friday after he flew out to right to end the inning and stranded a runner at first. He slammed his helmet to the ground.

“It’s frustrating because it was a 3-0 pitch, and I felt they were good takes and I felt good in the box, and I get that 3-0 pitch and I hit it off the end of the bat,” Rizzo said. “That was the frustrating part — 3-0, I want to barrel that up. Whether I hit it out or not, I want to barrel it up.”

Sveum doesn’t think the problem is pitchers adjusting to Rizzo.

“I think it’s too much of [him] adjusting to the pitchers instead of just getting a good pitch to hit and being ready to hit it all the time,” Sveum said. “Sometimes we get scouting reports, and [you think], ‘I know what this guy is going to try to do’ and sometimes you get caught worrying about it and the next organization is pitching you completely different. The bottom line is dictating the at-bat yourself.”

Sveum mentioned Rizzo’s swing had too much movement lately.

“Everything spirals when you try to do too much,” Rizzo said. “That’s what I always say is try not to do too much, which is hard to do. It’s part of a season. This is one of the worst [streaks] I’ve ever gone through. You have to keep working and keep battling.

“It’s the beauty of this game,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do except keep going.”

So far, Rizzo has appeared to be a streaky hitter.

“I think young guys will be that way, especially someone with his personality who thinks himself out of so many at-bats,” Sveum said. “You watch the consistent, really good hitters, and they’re not letting the pitcher dictate the at-bat. That comes with some maturity, too.”

Rizzo was batting .143 since signing a seven-year, $41 million contract extension. Is that the problem?

“You think this game would be a lot easier when you get that financial security but your instincts stay the same and you still get mad when you get outs because everyone in here is a competitor, whether you’re making $10 an hour or $5 an hour,” Rizzo said. “You get mad when you lose, you get mad when you fail.”

If Rizzo did sit, who would bat third for the Cubs?

“[Scott] Feldman,” Sveum said laughing.

— Carrie Muskat

1 Comment

My question is not who would hit 3rd but who would play 1st base. The angst that Rizzo is feeling about not hitting isn’t going to help. I have found with my MS that when I get nervous about falling I end up falling even more. When I concentrate on something else I am able to do more. Rizzo needs to stop thinking about striking out and think about where the ball will land as he hits it. Simplistic but effective.

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