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CHICAGO – In the ebb-and-flow of a Cubs’ season, this past week was a good one for the team and the man who leads them.

Anthony Rizzo’s performance helped the team to five consecutive wins from Wednesday through Sunday, and because of that he was named the National League’s Player of the Week.

In six games last week, Rizzo is hitting .429 with nine hits, three doubles, three homers, six RBI, and seven runs scored as the Cubs went 5-1 in that stretch. The surge has the Cubs sitting four games ahead of the Cardinals and 4 1/2 ahead of the Brewers for first place in the National League Central division with five weeks to go in the season.

This past week’s results continue the steady incline of Rizzo’s performance at the plate that started in mid-May, when the first baseman was hitting under .200. He finished that month strong and raised his average to .249 and it’s been climbing ever since.

After hitting .270 and .293 in June and July, respectively, Rizzo is enjoying his best month of the season in August. He’s hitting .325 with six homers and 15 RBI with an on-base percentage of .419 with 12 walks compared to ten strikeouts. Those numbers have climbed his season averages to .272 with 21 homers and 84 RBI with an on-base percentage of .369.

It’s probably not a coincidence that Rizzo’s improved play has helped the Cubs enjoy their best month of the season, one in which they’re 15-8 with an NL-best record of 76-53. A couple more weeks like this for Rizzo and another good month will have the Cubs playing October baseball for a fourth-straight year.