Cubs pregame notes: Rizzo, Cain, Zobrist, Fowler and the bullpen

SHARE Cubs pregame notes: Rizzo, Cain, Zobrist, Fowler and the bullpen

Anthony Rizzo drops to one knee after striking out with two men on, to end Saturday’s seventh inning.

SAN FRANCISCO — All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who’s just 1-for-22 in the Cubs’ last six games, has been a streaky performer this season. But the quality of his approach and swing hasn’t been streaky, he said.

“I think I’ve been really good with my approach,” said Rizzo, who has just two walks and one RBI in that six-game stretch – four of which are Cubs’ losses.

“The ball goes to the left, the ball goes to the right and it’s a couple hits here and there,” he said. That’s just nine vs. one. That’s the way the game goes sometimes.”

The Brewers during a three-game series during the week were particularly effective containing the Cubs’ lineup with defensive shifts, including Rizzo.

His lone hit in that stretch was a single through the right-side shift Friday night.

In his 12 games before that stretch, he was 18-for-47 (.383) with three homers, eight walks and 10 RBIs.

Rising Cain

Matt Cain, once one of the most feared hitters among major league pitchers, ended the longest hitless drought in the majors (46 at-bats) Saturday when he worked a 3-2 counted, then doubled home two runs off Jon Lester with two out in the second.

Cain, who battled injuries the last two years, also ended a 15-start winless drought by beating the Cubs Saturday, albeit with a third consecutive strong start (1.71 ERA in those starts).

He was 0-8 during the winless stretch, including two losses to the Cubs last season.

Notes: Cubs catcher David Ross leads the majors with four catcher pickoffs and a 2.32 catcher’s ERA … Ben Zobrist takes a 27-start streak of reaching base into Sunday night’s game …Dexter Fowler, who has homers in two of his last three games, leads the National League with a .983 OPS from the leadoff spot. He’s second in the majors to Houston’s Jose Altuve (1.022) … The Cubs’ bullpen has righted itself over the past week, producing a group ERA of 0.81 in the last seven games, spanning 22 1/3 innings, entering play Sunday (despite 14 walks) … The Cubs are 24-6 in their last 30 road games through Saturday … The Cubs have yet to lose on back-to-back calendar days this season, thanks in large part to Monday’s off day … Even after Jon Lester’s rough start Saturday, the Cubs’ rotation leads the majors with a 2.52 ERA … Pitching matchups for the upcoming Cardinals series: John Lackey vs. Adam Wainwright (Monday), Jason Hammel vs. Michael Wacha (Tuesday) and Jake Arrieta vs. Carlos Martinez (Wednesday).

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