Cubs continue to struggle with timely hitting

Cubs continue to struggle with timely hitting

CHICAGO -- The Cubs struggled with to deliver clutch hits last season, and have encountered the same problem in the first six games this year, which has contributed to their 1-5 record.

Entering Thursday's game against the Brewers, the Cubs were hitting .145 with runners on base and .277 with the bases empty. With runners in scoring position, the Cubs were batting .140 (7-for-50). They turned it around in the series finale against Milwaukee, going 7-for-12 with RISP, and posting an 8-0 win.

"Bottom line is, we've gotten some people on, and once again, we're struggling with men in scoring position," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Our right-handed hitters are struggling right now in those situations. We have to get better at that or otherwise, it'll be tough to score runs. Right on right, we have to get a better understanding of the process of how they're getting us out and how they're attacking us, and we have to take advantage of that."

Sveum made one switch in Thursday's lineup, giving Marlon Byrd a day off. Byrd is 1-for-21 so far, and the only hit came in his second at-bat of the season. Reed Johnson started in center field on Thursday.

"I'm giving him a day, a little breather and hopefully get him on track," Sveum said. "He'll be back in there [Friday]."

Byrd has some adjustments to make with his swing.

"It's real rotational and he has to get more linear in his swing to be able to handle pitches away," Sveum said. "It's all rotation now where the bat comes in and out of the strike zone too quick."