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Cubs in desperate need of offense as NLCS shifts to Wrigley Field

League Championship Series - Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Chicago Cubs find themselves in a bad spot, down two games to none in the National League Championship Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As the series shifts to Wrigley Field, the home team needs to score more runs or its postseason won’t last much longer.

Game 3 has a first pitch scheduled for 9:01 p.m. ET on Tuesday in Chicago.

“We’re pretty fortunate to be in this position right now based on the number of runs we’ve scored over the last week,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Through seven postseason games, Chicago has scored just 20 runs, and nine of those came in their Game 5 win over the Washington Nationals. The Cubs are hitting .162/.251/.262 as a team in the playoffs, and have seven total hits in two games against the Dodgers.

“That’s a very dangerous lineup. They build on momentum and hits and slug,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday. “But when we execute, we have a good chance of getting these guys out. Up to this point, we’ve done a very good job of that.”

Anthony Rizzo is 4-for-26 (.154) and Kris Bryant is 5-for-28 (.179) this postseason, each with a pair of extra-base hits. Bryant, the reigning NL MVP, has struck out 13 times. From Carrie Muskat of MLB.com:

“When you don’t produce, it’s like you let the team down,” Bryant said. “That’s not the right way to feel, because not one person makes or breaks the team. For me, I put that in perspective all the time and realize it’s not what you do in the playoffs, it’s what the team does, and obviously, we haven’t been getting it done so far.”

This is a Cubs team that was in the upper tier of the league in offense all year, averaging 5.07 runs per game. At home in 2017, they scored 5.38 runs per contest.

Since the All-Star break, Chicago averaged 5.72 runs, tops in baseball during that stretch, fueling a 49-25 run that helped send the Cubs to their third consecutive NLCS. In the postseason, the Cubs are averaging just 2.86 runs per game, and have scored two or fewer runs four times in seven games.

If there is one thing the Cubs are, though, it’s battle-tested. In addition to the nine runs in Game 5 of the 2017 NLDS, they overcame a 2-1 deficit in last year’s NLCS against the Dodgers, scoring 23 runs in the final three games to close out the series. In the World Series, Chicago trailed the Cleveland Indians three games to one but rallied for 20 runs to win the final three contests.

“We’ll be fine. We’ve had some tough losses before that we were able to bounce back from, and that’s what I’m talking about,” Maddon said. “I had the privilege of being in the clubhouse and in the dugout with these guys every day. I know what they’re like. I know what they feel like. I know how they respond to situations, and we’ll do the same thing [Tuesday].”