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Cubs waiting for Rizzo, Bryant to cut loose

ST. LOUIS — Can the Cubs succeed in the playoffs without Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo being what they’ve been most of the season?

 

Rizzo and in particular Bryant have largely been non-factors offensively for the Cubs through three postseason games as the best-of-five National League Division Series shifts to Wrigley Field for Game 3 on Monday.

 

“Yeah, we’re looking for them,” Maddon said. “That’s 100 RBIs or so for each guy – that’s 200 rib-eyes between the two of them. That’s really important.”

 

Thanks to Jake Arrieta’s four-hitter in the wild-card game Wednesday, and five unearned runs in the second inning of Saturday’s win in St. Louis, the Cubs have been able to survive without the big middle-of-the-order guys being the big contributors.

 

But their combined 0-for-21 performance, including eight strikeouts (and 2 walks), through three postseason games doesn’t bode well for a lengthy playoff run if it continues.

 

“I have all the confidence in the world,” Maddon said of his All-Star hitters.

 

Bryant, the rookie, also finished the regular season on a 1-for-15 skid, with six strikeouts (for a league-leading total of 199).

 

Maddon said he hasn’t seen signs of fatigue in his third baseman.

 

“He’s hit a couple ground balls in situations he normally doesn’t, which just tells me he might be off timing-wise,” Maddon said. “But talking to him, he ‘s fine. You saw the defense in Pittsburgh. He’s definitely in the moment. He’ll be all right.”