It's no secret that things haven't been going swimmingly for Cubs young players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
The two entered Tuesday night's 4-2 loss to the Washington Nationals a combined 3-for-43 on the current homestand. Neither lit up the joint Tuesday, as each went 0-for-4.
Castro, who was yanked from a game Saturday for inattentiveness, came to Wrigley Field on Tuesday and found himself batting eighth for the first time this year.
Manager Dale Sveum said eighth was the best fit for Castro at this point, with third baseman Donnie Murphy and right fielder Nate Schierholtz coming off 2-homer games each Monday night.
Sveum also said he likes the way second baseman Darwin Barney and catcher Welington Castillo were swinging the bats.
The term "regressed" has been used a lot concerning Castro and Rizzo. In the parlance of team president Theo Epstein, "progress isn't always going to be linear."
So the way the Cubs are looking at it -- for now at least -- Castro and Rizzo have taken detours and not necessarily steps backward.
"Yeah, that's probably a good way to put it, which happens to most of these guys," Sveum said. "When it happens, you don't know. But like I said, even Castro, they're all going to look back and want to throw one year out of their career.
"Unfortunately, it will probably be this one. You don't want any more of them. That's the nature of the business. Unfortunately, it's a very humbling game."
Castro was contrite about his miscue over the weekend, and although he wasn't thrilled about batting eighth, he accepted it.
Rizzo, who did not play Monday because he was ill, said he's not yet ready to evaluate his year.
"It's honestly something I don't really look at until the end of year," he said. "I'm just going to keep grinding and keep trying to get better and just keep trying to be a good teammate."
Rizzo saw his batting average fall to .228 on Tuesday. He also was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, dropping his average .173 in that department. Answers aren't easy to come by.
"If we knew that answer, we'd correct it every day," Sveum said. "It's just a matter of … these guys are young and it's their second time around in the big leagues or their second year.
"Sometimes it takes some adjustments and confidence, too. Confidence is obviously the key factor to all of this. It guys lose their confidence, it's always going to show up on the field."
The Cubs got 52⁄3 innings from starting pitcher Chris Rusin (2-3), who gave up 10 hits and 2 runs and escaped several jams. The power again came from two unlikely sources.
Murphy hit his seventh homer in 14 games, and Brian Bogusevic hit his first of the year, one day after coming off the disabled list.
"Bogie, and the Murphy show keeps continuing with a double and a home run," Sveum said. "Hopefully that keeps continuing. We're struggling everywhere else right now."