7/3 Happy anniversary, Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo has been with the Cubs for one week, and Dale Sveum was asked if the rookie has justified batting third.
“So far,” said Sveum, chuckling. “Nothing’s gone wrong yet. We’ve won a lot of games since he’s been here. He’s done a lot of things you’re supposed to do in the third hole.”
Rizzo has driven in the game-winning RBI in three of his four games, and almost had another on Monday. Apparently, he has the right mindset for the No. 3 spot.
“You have to have talent to hit third, fourth, fifth,” Sveum said. “There’s a mental edge you have to have in those spots, too. Those spots are RBI spots. You’re not hitting there because you’re a good hitter, it’s because you can smell and taste RBIs, and you find a way to get those RBIs and get them in, whether the infield is back and you hit a ground ball to second base with the infield back. Those are RBIs you don’t get back, especially early in the game when you take the lead. That’s what third hitters and fourth hitters do, they take leads and add on.”
How much has he meant to the team in one week?
“You don’t want to put everything on somebody’s shoulders, but I don’t believe in coincidences either,” Sveum said. “We lost a lot of one-run games because we didn’t put anything up on the board. Three of those wins — and it could’ve been four last night — he knocked in the winning runs in four of the six games he’s been here. I don’t believe in coincidences. There are times when certain people change a dynamic of a lineup and a team.”
— Carrie Muskat