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Rizzo looks to improve on situational hitting

PHILADELPHIA -- Anthony Rizzo has been the Cubs' most productive hitter this season.

The first baseman's 63 RBIs lead the team, and are a rather large number for a player who is hitting under .200 with runners in scoring position. Rizzo has a .240 average and .784 OPS on the season, but those numbers are .184 and .612 when runners are on second or third.

"If he's hitting .300 with runners in scoring position, you're looking at 80 RBIs instead of 62, or whatever he has," manager Dale Sveum said. "That's' the stat that has to be better."

Rizzo, who turns 24 on Thursday, is playing in his first full Major League season, but he posted good numbers in 87 games after being called up in June last year. That included those key RBI situations, as Rizzo hit .338 with a .961 OPS with runners in scoring position in 2012.

"He was hitting the ball the other way a lot. He did a lot of good things with runners in scoring position," Sveum said. "This year, it's like he's trying to hit a home run every time somebody is in scoring position."

Rizzo also has a team-leading 18 homers, and four of his last six hits have been home runs. Rizzo, whose OPS in his last six games is 1.099 because of all the homers, was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels.

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for
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