Chicago Cubs: Why is Anthony Rizzo struggling so much this season?

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: A tumultuous first half for Anthony Rizzo

Everyone recalls Rizzo’s icy start to the 2018 season.

In March and April, he batted just .149 with one home run and nine runs batted in. Now, there are a lot of other ways to evaluate a hitter, but these tell you a lot right off the bat. A .259 on-base percentage is hardly what we’ve come to expect from Rizzo, even when he’s not hitting for power.

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During this stretch, he was sidelined by back issues. This isn’t the first time he’s fallen victim to an injury like this, and it hardly seemed like something to panic about.

But things turned around quickly. In May, he turned it on, putting up a .984 OPS with seven homers, 28 RBI and six doubles. He drew 18 walks and struck out only 10 times the entire month. In short, he was back to being Rizzo.

That largely continued through most of June. He wasn’t quite as hot, but still put up a .345 OBP in 28 games. Which, at the end of the day, you’ll certainly take – especially from a guy who provides elite defense at first base.

But as quickly as he turned it on in May, Rizzo fell back into a dreadful slump in mid-to-late June. In the last four weeks, he owns a dismal .205/.300/.273 line – with just one long ball. Over the last week, he looks lost at the plate, taking pitches he normally punishes. Joe Maddon actually sat him in the finale against the Giants, seemingly hoping a blow helps sort things out.