Facing up to their future

CHICAGO -- On Tuesday night, Starlin Castro hit perhaps the nadir of his season.

He hit eighth.

Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum penciled him into the penultimate spot in the lineup. If Travis Wood were pitching, Castro might've been ninth.

Meanwhile, slumping Anthony Rizzo found himself in the three-hole again after a sick day Monday.

Rizzo shrugged off questions about his struggles before the game, but they're obvious to everyone. His power numbers are OK, but his hitting approach is out of whack.

He's not struggling quite like Castro, but in some ways he's just a beneficiary of better optics and scattershot power.

At only 24 and playing in his first full major league season, Rizzo is now expected to be the face of the lineup. And he is. Like Rizzo, the Cubs hit homers and doubles, but they're not what Sveum calls "winning hitters." While the focus for most of this season has been on the Cubs' minor leagues and the contentious renovation of Wrigley Field, it's clear Castro and Rizzo, the organization's so-called major league core, need some renovating too.

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