Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo (back) sidelined a second day; Sunday return possible
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MILWAUKEE — First baseman Anthony Rizzo missed the game Saturday because of a sore lower back, and manager Joe Maddon didn’t rule out a third day off Sunday ahead of the home opener Monday.
“The word I’m hearing from the training staff is he’s feeling better,” Maddon said. “So maybe [Sunday]. I’m not 100 percent sure. But I don’t want to rush it.”
Rizzo was a late scratch from the lineup Friday because of recurring tightness that typically costs him a game or two at a time in recent seasons.
Victor Caratini replaced him at first in both games, and Kyle Schwarber moved up to take Rizzo’s No. 3 spot in the order.
Rizzo is off to an unusually slow start. In six games, he’s 3-for-28 (.107) with one home run and one walk.
Pursuit of Happ-yness
By the time leadoff man Ian Happ stepped to the plate in the ninth inning, he already had struck out three times in the game — his National League-leading strikeout total ballooning to 17 in just seven games.
“Ummm,” he said with a long pause and stare. “Yes.”
But with the bases loaded and the score tied, Happ slapped a pitch from Jacob Barnes the opposite way into the left-center gap for a two-run single — the only ball the Cubs hit out of the infield during the decisive four-run ninth.
“It was great to come through for the guys in a situation like that,” Happ said.
“That just speaks to his ability to put the past in the rearview mirror and move on from there,” Maddon said. “He fought off [an inside pitch] to find some grass. That’s got to feel good. Whatever he’s going to have for dinner tonight is going to taste better, sleep’s going to be much more tranquil, and if he had a dog on the road, he’s going to love his puppy even more. That’s what happens after a hit like that.”
This and that
The Cubs were 1-for-14 with a runner on third and fewer than two outs entering the series, with only 1 of 10 such runners scoring before a two-out play. They’ve gone 3-for-7 in that situation the last two games, with 5 of 8 runners scoring from third before two outs.
— The Cubs’ bullpen, which allowed one run in three innings Saturday, leads the majors with a 1.02 ERA.