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RISPy business: Cubs seeking clutch hitting

Chicago goes 2-for-25 with runners in scoring position through 3 games

DENVER -- Manager Joe Maddon likes that the Cubs are getting runners on base. Unfortunately for them, they're having a tough time driving them in.

The Cubs went 1-for-9 Friday with runners in scoring position in a 5-1 loss to the Rockies, and now are 2-for-25 for the season in those situations.

"We had plenty of opportunities," Maddon said. "They found a way through it. We did not get the big hit, they did."

In the season opener, a 3-0 loss to the Cardinals, the Cubs went 0-for-13 with RISP. Maddon called it an "industry-wide problem." Trouble is, the lack of clutch hitting hindered the Cubs last season as they batted .223 with runners in scoring position, 14th in the National League.

"We keep putting ourselves in position and battling and getting good at-bats," Chicago's Anthony Rizzo said. "We just have to learn to capitalize more on pitchers and when they're in trouble, not us. We're not the ones in trouble at that time, that moment. We had the pitcher on the ropes a few times and didn't come through. If we keep giving ourselves opportunities, good things will happen."

The Cubs did load the bases in the second and third innings against Rockies starter Tyler Matzek but could only manufacture one run on a sacrifice fly by Matt Szczur in the third.

Maddon is still tinkering with the lineup but said he felt they had the right guys up at the right time.

"I liked the way we went about our business," Maddon said. "We just couldn't get the hit when we needed to."

Is it deja vu all over again?

"That's done, in my opinion," Rizzo said of last year. "This is a new team, and we have to mold together and bond together. If we keep getting good opportunities, guys will come through. How many times will we have runners on third and less than two outs and not get him in? We're going to do it. It's just a matter of giving ourselves opportunities."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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