Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

anthony rizzo on base smile helmetAs rough as watching most of last night’s game was, I can only imagine how I’d be feeling this morning if they’d lost. Mets fans: I sympathize.

Thankfully, despite a continued lack of power, the Cubs were able to string together some consecutive hits – despite a rare Kris Bryant TOOTBLAN – and bring a couple runs home to win it. The biggest hit came on yet another Starlin Castro dribbler to the left side, but sometimes those work out.

That’s especially true when you absolutely bust it out of the box and then run faster than you maybe ever have. Just watch the hit from Castro last night, if you missed it, and tell me he didn’t get up the line WAY faster than you expected as the ball came off the bat. That looks like a tough play, but one that Murphy fields cleanly and on which he makes a nice throw – and Castro still beats it easily. He was flying.

Although he had some rough at bats later in the game, I want to give some love to Jonathan Herrera, who filled in for Addison Russell at second base, and then did a pretty amazing impression of Russell’s up-the-middle range:

He had a little more time on that play than some of the absurd ones Russell has made this year, but still – I love a good jump-throw.

But, even though it wasn’t a sparkling defensive play or a game-winner or even an important play in the game, I think everyone will agree that this truly impressive Anthony Rizzo slide is what folks will remember:

And the GIF version:

We’ve seen guys pull that trick off in a head-first slide – a variation of the swim move – but I’m not sure I’ve seen it executed like that with the lead leg in a traditional slide. It looked like it was just instinctual for Rizzo: “The ball is there, I don’t want to put my leg there, hold it back, hey there’s a window, extend the leg! SAFE!”

Unfortunately Rizzo was stranded at third that inning, otherwise that would have been the lead highlight everywhere you looked today. But that’s OK. The Cubs won the game, so I can still remember the play affectionately.

Rizzo certainly will. And the theme for the season is pretty much set in stone now:

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