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Maddon, Cubs recognize bats need to do more

Dodgers have stymied offense, particularly Bryant/Rizzo combination
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

LOS ANGELES -- They're batting a combined .166 with one home run between them so far in the postseason. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant aren't the only ones scuffling on the Cubs, but the Dodgers have definitely stymied the pair.

"Everybody in the lineup feels the same way," said Bryant, who went 0-for-4 Sunday in the Cubs' 4-1 loss to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World.

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LOS ANGELES -- They're batting a combined .166 with one home run between them so far in the postseason. Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant aren't the only ones scuffling on the Cubs, but the Dodgers have definitely stymied the pair.

"Everybody in the lineup feels the same way," said Bryant, who went 0-for-4 Sunday in the Cubs' 4-1 loss to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World.

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"When you don't produce, it's like you let the team down," Bryant said. "That's not the right way to feel, because not one person makes or breaks the team. For me, I put that in perspective all the time and realize it's not what you do in the playoffs, it's what the team does, and obviously, we haven't been getting it done so far."

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Bryant has struck out 13 times in 28 postseason at-bats in 2017, and was 5-for-28 in the NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile and NLCS combined, with two RBIs.

In the NLCS, the Dodgers' bullpen has been dominating. The relievers had retired 22 in a row before Rizzo was hit by a pitch with one out in the ninth.

"We have to just keep pushing, make adjustments," Chicago's Jason Heyward said. "When I say that, I don't mean do anything drastic, but pay attention to detail and approach."

When asked for details, Heyward smiled.

"I wouldn't give them to you," he said. "I just feel it works in your favor when you see guys more than once. You can see their approach, see how they attack, make your adjustments, and hope for the best."

The focus is on Bryant and Rizzo -- or Bryzzo, as they're known by Cubs fans. Does Rizzo feel responsible to get the Cubs' offense going? His last hit was an eighth-inning single against the Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS. He's 0-for-14 since.

"I think that'd be selfish if we did [feel responsible]," Rizzo said. "One through nine, all 25 guys, we've got to get it going. Our pitching is doing a heck of a job. You need help from everyone in the lineup, not just one or two guys."

Video: NLCS Gm2: Rizzo gets hit by a pitch on the hand

Manager Joe Maddon agrees.

"We just have to become more offensive," Maddon said.

What are the Dodgers doing?

"They do a good job of their game plan of high fastballs out of the bullpen," Bryant said. "It's nothing out of the ordinary."

It would seem that if the Cubs know what to expect, they could overcome it.

"They're really good at throwing high fastballs in the zone," Bryant said. "A lot of other teams try to and they might hit one out of every four, but this team, it seems like they can really hammer the top of the zone, and they have guys who can hit upper 90s [mph], and when you mix those two, it's tough to catch up to."

The Cubs finally figured out the Nationals' tough pitching staff in the NLDS. But they head home for Games 3 and 4 (and maybe 5) of the NLCS trailing, 2-0, in the best-of-seven series. Since the LCS expanded to seven games in 1985, only three of the 28 teams that lost the first two games have come back to win the series.

"I don't think anybody here is pouting or down on themselves," Bryant said. "It's just a matter of, 'Hey, we have to come together as a team and don't put too much worry in yourself.'"

"We've got to win, that's the bottom line," Rizzo said. "We've got to win four games. They've got to win two. It's best of seven."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo