Joe Maddon Hopes To Lower Pressure On Struggling Kris Bryant

It didn't take a long time for Joe Maddon to identify the problems of Cubs slugger Kris Bryant Saturday night after Bryant struck out three times in a 4-3 loss to the Pirates.

"Chasing pitches out of the strike zone," Maddon said. "It’s not a mechanical issue. I saw it (Friday) night when he pinch-hit, and I saw it in this game."

Bryant is hitless in his past eight at-bats, striking out six times. He also has only one extra base hit — a home run — and one RBI in his past eight games.

"Whenever he goes badly, he’s just opening it up," Maddon said. "When he accepts his walks, he’s in good shape."

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But with Maddon constantly trying to find the most effective lineup combinations that have included moving Anthony Rizzo to the leadoff spot, the last thing Maddon wants to do is put more pressure on Bryant to carry the offense by himself.

"I don’t want him to think he has to be that guy," Maddon said. "I’d rather him just be (25-year-old) Kris Bryant. I know he’s (the 2016 National League) MVP. I get it. But he’s still a young man and still developing. I don’t want to add anything more to his burden."

Source : http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-cubs-joe-maddon-kris-bryant-20170617-story.html

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