Top of the order woes
Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo went a combined 0-for-11 with four strikeouts and a walk against the combination of Kluber, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen. By contrast, the 4-5-6 bats of Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber, and Javier Baez went 5-for-11 (.455) – carrying the bulk of the Cubs’ offense.
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Rizzo should fare better against the Indians’ Game 2 starter Trevor Bauer. On the year his OPS against righties is almost 150 points higher than against southpaws and he also clubbed 24 of his 32 long-balls against right-handed pitching.
Bryant is, in my mind, the least of the Cubs’ worries. He’s been one of the few offensive bright spots for Chicago thus far in the postseason and he’s been quick on his feet when adjusting to mistakes in past games. The key is the man who sets the table in Fowler.
The 30-year-old center fielder has been the catalyst for the Chicago Cubs’ offense all season long. His .393 on-base percentage set a new career-high and his success has had a direct correlation to the team winning.
In wins during the regular season, Fowler batted .310 with a .433 OBP. On the other hand (much like we saw on Tuesday in the series opener), his OPS fell nearly 300 points in Chicago losses, making the Joe Maddon-ism of “you go, we go,” all the more accurate.