Maddon: Sluggers need to get back on track

Maddon: Sluggers need to get back on track

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon believes Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo were unable to take advantage of the All-Star break and rest, and it's showing in their batting averages, which have been dipping.

"We have to get them to play through this moment," Maddon said. "That's all I'm seeing is we have to somehow get them freshened up."

They're not alone. The Cubs have been scuffling this month as a team, and they ranked 14th in the National League with a .214 average entering Sunday. Starlin Castro (.143), Bryant (.184) and Addison Russell (.196) were among the bottom 12 in batting averages in the league in July.

"We have to get those guys going," Maddon said.

• The Cubs have not made an official announcement, but Dallas Beeler was expected to start Tuesday's game against the Rockies. The right-hander has made two starts already with the big league team, filling in as the 26th man in doubleheaders on July 7 against the Cardinals and July 22 against the Reds. He had given up five earned runs on 10 hits over seven innings.

• Maddon admits he keeps an eye on the scoreboard.

"I don't get obsessed by it," Maddon said. "I'm just curious. When you get to that playoff moment, that last six weeks or four weeks [of the season], and everything's right there, then you get firmly involved. Now I'm watching all the time. It's not a bad thing."

The Cubs dropped to third in the NL Wild Card standings after back-to-back losses to the Phillies.

"Believe me, there's a lot of time to go," Maddon said. "I've been involved in a 8 1/2-, 9-game run in September. It's very difficult to get me pessimistic."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.