MILWAUKEE -- If the Cubs are to advance in the postseason, they're going to have to improve on situational hitting. Maybe they got the bad at-bats out of the way on Saturday night.
Chicago stranded 12 batters in a 1-0 win over Milwaukee, which put them one win away from possibly hosting the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
"It's obviously something we have to get better at," Anthony Rizzo said. "Hopefully, now we're so bad at it, come playoff time, we'll be good at it then. It is what it is, and we can't get too mad about it. We know we have to get it together."
The Cubs rank 14th in the NL in batting with runners in scoring position, yet have scored enough to get to the postseason. The Pirates have a one-game lead in the NL Wild Card standings heading into the final regular season game, and if Pittsburgh loses Sunday and the Cubs win, the two teams would be tied. Chicago would host Wednesday's Wild Card Game because it won the season series, 11-8.
"We left way too many guys on base," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "[We had ] opportunities all night long, but we pitched well enough to win. It was Kyle [Hendricks'] best performance of the year."
Both Rizzo and rookie Kris Bryant had chances to pick up their 100th RBIs of the season. The pair were a combined 0-for-6 with RISP, stranding seven. Bryant struck out in his three at-bats. What can he do?
"Just not swing at pitches in the dirt would really help," Maddon said. "It has nothing to do with the swing or mechanics or anything else. It's just pitch selection if you replay the tape. It has nothing to do with physical mechanics. It's not. It's about what you're thinking and what you're swinging at. That's where you're successful or not. Nobody hits those pitches -- Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, none of those guys hit those pitches. We just have to hit a better pitch."