Same start, but different result in Anthony Rizzo’s debut as the Cubs’ leadoff man in 2018
CHICAGO – Some around the team, even himself, were throwing around the phrase “The Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All Time.”
This was done tongue-in-cheek when it came to Anthony Rizzo, considering his quick success at the leadoff spot during the summer of 2017. On June 13th, he homered in his first at-bat against the Mets and in 14 games at the spot hit .300 with five round trippers and 12 RBI.
When Rizzo was put back at the top of the lineup on Tuesday, perhaps some of those fun claims that Rizzo was the “G.L.O.H.A.T” got a little more steam, though it’s still more hyperbole.
Stepping to the plate Monday night against the Rockies, Rizzo clubbed an opposite field homer on the first pitch he saw to the delight of the Wrigley Field crowd.
It got the hitter into a frenzy and was needed after Kyle Hendricks surrendered a pair of homers in the first inning. The enthusiastic Rizzo screamed as he rounded the bases and then went into a jubilant dugout.
Unfortunately for him – and the run-struggling Cubs – that was as good as it got. After weeks of being saved by strong Cubs pitching, three runs were enough to stop the team in a 3-1 defeat to Colorado on Tuesday.
For all his early excitement, Rizzo failed to get another hit in his next three at-bats, as his average continues to sit at a sub-par .154 for the season. Coming into Wednesday afternoon’s game with the Rockies, Rizzo was just 2-for-18 during the homestand.
Meanwhile the Cubs’ offense continues to struggle in the same stretch in bit of a Wrigley Field offensive outage. They’ve scored just 13 runs in six games, but still have won all but one contest thanks to that pitching.
It’s been a slump in what’s been an up-and-down start offensively for the Cubs, who like 2017, have showed the ability to turn it on then off again quickly. So far they are tied for 11th in runs scored in Major League Baseball with 134 and a .247 batting average, which is 10th in the league.
Certainly Rizzo brought some excitement to the lineup early. Unfortunately, it didn’t last.