Yesterday, the strangest thing happened.
History’s Greatest Leadoff Hitter Anthony Rizzo stepped to the plate to open up the Cubs’ half of the first inning, as he has over the past week. He took a mighty cut (as he has), and he sent the ball out at a very healthy 105.3 mph (as he does). But then … the ball … landed in somebody’s glove.
For the first time in over a week, and for the first time since he moved into the leadoff spot, Anthony Rizzo was retired to open up the Cubs’ first inning. It just seems so wrong.
Despite that, Rizzo’s numbers in the leadoff spot remain absurd, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon is not inclined to make a change after one game.
“Going into it, I did not have a set number of days,” Maddon told Cubs.com. “He obviously started well in New York. I’ve got a very open mind about all of this. I think a lot of it depends on other guys surfacing. I’m just going to leave it alone.”
Maddon added that he believes some guys just have the right mindset to be the first batter up there, and Rizzo does. And, since he likes to do it, why not stick with it for now?
I think it will be interesting to see if there is ever a change in thinking going forward if Kris Bryant continues to slump – we know that Maddon is big on the idea of protection, and Bryant’s rough patch does kinda correspond with Rizzo’s move from behind him. Am I actually connecting those dots? Let’s be clear that I’m not. I’m saying only that I wonder if and when that becomes a conversation in relation to Rizzo leading off, if Rizzo stops producing at an obscene rate up there.
But then … maybe that will never happen. Rizzo is History’s Greatest Leadoff Hitter after all.