Anthony Rizzo launches a home run in his first ever turn as a leadoff man
Cubs manager Joe Maddon explained his unorthodox decision to move slugger Anthony Rizzo into the leadoff spot as an attempt “to see if he provides a spark somehow.” Rizzo wasted no time doing just that.
The Chicago first baseman on Tuesday smacked a solo home run, his 14th of the season to dead center off the Mets’ Zack Wheeler on the second pitch he saw in his first-ever at-bat as a leadoff man.
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Rizzo wasn’t done there. He came up again in the top of the second with the bases loaded and fought back from 0-2 in the count to draw a walk and bring another run in before Ian Happ followed with a grand slam. Safe to say the move is working out so far.
He later added an RBI double and finished 2-4 with 3 RBIs in the Cubs’ 14-3 win.
Rizzo is the seventh different Cub to bat in the leadoff spot this season as Maddon searches for a combination to ignite an offense that entered Tuesday’s game 15th in the majors in runs and 21st in OPS after being third in the league last year in both categories. He’s hitting just .249 but had a team-high 37 RBIs headed into Tuesday and his home run tied Kris Bryant for the team lead.
It’s the second time Rizzo has ever batted first in the order, the first being in a pinch-hit capacity for the Padres in his debut season of 2011.