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Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Rizzo laments his tough season

By Jesse Rogers

MILWAUKEE -- The admission kind of came out of nowhere. Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was asked about manager Dale Sveum and his job status, considering the topic has been in the news this week.

"Dale has done a really good job this year, especially with Starlin [Castro] and I," Rizzo said after the Cubs' 7-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. "Obviously, we didn't live up to what we were supposed to do."

Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo has watched his average dip all season. He's hoping a fresh start this winter will help him get back on track for 2014.
That would be all he would say about Sveum, but Rizzo wasn't done talking about himself. Usually he'll admit to struggles through some cliché like "It is what it is," but after an 0-for-4 night with three strikeouts, Rizzo took on more of the burden.

"You take the positives out of everything," he said. "I know I'm a good hitter. I know I can hit the ball well, hit for average along with the power. I know I can hit with runners in scoring position, which I haven't done. Maybe it's due to putting a little too much pressure on myself. In a couple weeks I'll get to relax and dissect everything. It'll be the best thing for me."

Rizzo's average has dipped to .226, the lowest it has been since May 2. With 10 games remaining, the idea of a good feeling to finish the year is starting to fade.

"You feel bad for them," Sveum said. "I've been in these situations and those slumps, especially this time of year when you want to finish strong. Going into the winter it's not fun if you don't."

Rizzo has done his best to keep his head up and he continues to work. He and second baseman Darwin Barney -- also slumping -- were looking at video long after Wednesday's game, trying to find solutions. They may have to wait until spring.

"It is what it is, the sun is going to rise tomorrow," Rizzo said. "There's going to be games tomorrow. No one is going to feel bad for me."

But people are going to expect more. A .250 power hitter has some value, a .225 hitter is hard to watch. Rizzo has said in the past he thinks he's a .300 hitter. He hasn't shown that kind of plate ability for most of this season.

"This is going to be a good learning experience when it's all said and done," he said. "Hopefully it's just a bump in the road for the entire organization this year."