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Anthony Rizzo: Cubs ‘punched in teeth last two months’

SAN DIEGO – A week in sunny Southern California, with sandy beaches, and summer fast approaching.

“It obviously sucks,” Anthony Rizzo said.

Palm trees, sailboats on the water, postcard-perfect sunsets?

“It stinks, obviously,” Kyle Schwarber said.

Leave it to the 2017 Cubs to get lost in the woods at a beach and ruin a perfectly nice trip to the west coast with their worst road trip in three years.

As if getting swept by the playoff-contender Dodgers in Los Angeles wasn’t bad enough over the weekend, the Cubs sunk to new lows in their title-defense season with back-to-back losses to the crappy Padres – the latest a 6-2 defeat Tuesday night at Petco Park to some dude named Dinelson Lamet.

“It’s never fun when you show up and you’re just not producing the way we know we’re capable of playing baseball every day,” said first baseman Rizzo, whose Cubs have been outscored 29-8 during the trip with one game left, Wednesday at Petco.

The 0-5 start assures their lowest win total on a trip of at least two cities since the last-place 2014 squad went 1-5 in September at Toronto and Pittsburgh.

It also dropped their season record under .500 for the fourth time this season – and their collective confidence level at least a little off center.

“To stand here and say everything’s peachy is not [accurate],” said Rizzo, whose 0-for-4 Tuesday made him 2-for-15 for the trip. “Everyone’s confidence, but when you’re in ruts like this, when you’re down you never think you’re going to get up and when you’re at the top you never think you’re going to come back down. It’s a vicious cycle of life.”

Or bad baseball

Replacement fifth starter Eddie Butler looked strong through four innings – except for that go-ahead two-run homer allowed to Austin Hedges with one out in the second – until three straight hits and a walk with one out in the fifth ended his outing.

The Padres wound up with four runs in the fifth. And another unlikely victory against a team that averaged 100 wins the last two years – but has only four more victories than a last-place, rebuilding Padres team with a Rule 5 guy leading off.

“It’s a surprise for sure,” Rizzo said of the losing record nearly one-third into the season. “We came in very confident. But we’ve gotten punched in the teeth the last two months.

<em>Rizzo invoked ‘Rocky’ imagery to motivate teammates during the World Series.</em>
Rizzo invoked ‘Rocky’ imagery to motivate teammates during the World Series.

“That’s the way it is. You’re either going to get up, or you’re going to stay down,” he said. “It’s up to us to decide what we’re going to do. I have full confidence that we’re going to get up and spring and get this thing going sooner than later.”

Said Schwarber, the slumping former leadoff hitter who snapped a 0-for-12 skid with a fifth-inning homer: “We know what kind of team we have here. … Once this hot streak starts, whenever it is, we’re just going to keep going out there and grinding.”