Rizzo seemed to emerge from a short-lived funk when he delivered a long home run and had a run-scoring single in Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the previous six games, the lefty swinger had just four hits and was batting under .200 in that stretch. Much of Rizzo’s struggles appear to have stemmed from a definitive pitching strategy against him.
When Rizzo was making a big offensive impact shortly after his arrival to the big leagues in late June he was doing it by manhandling pitches toward the outside part of the plate.
During the recent dryspell, pitchers appeared to be pounding Rizzo low and inside.
“They’re just mixing in and out, fastballs, offspeed,” Rizzo said. “It’s just about being smart, and if they’re going to attack me one way I’m not going to get out of the way I want to hit. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
Manager Dale Sveum agrees with his young hitter’s approach. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and after a short slow stretch, the Cubs hardly think there is anything drastic Rizzo needs to do during his at-bats.
“People try to pitch a lot of people in certain spots, but the bottom line is you still have to wait it out and get a good pitch,” Sveum said. “Not too many people hit all 17 inches of the plate so the bottom line of young hitters is to just wait it out and get good pitches to hit.”
Rizzo wasn’t making a big deal about things when hits were hard to come by over the weekend, and he isn’t going to celebrate a solid day Wednesday.
“It’s just baseball,” Rizzo said. “Anywhere you are you’re going to go through ups and downs, and it’s about staying even-keel and on the same plane.”
If that isn’t a simple enough of an approach, Rizzo can strip things down to the basics even further.
“See the ball hit the ball,” he said. “Try to get ready early and (don’t) try to do too much.”