With Kris Bryant out of the game for the 9th inning last night, and the Cubs out of bench players, Joe Maddon – who was probably salivating at the idea – had to get really creative to cover up his defense.
At first, I thought he was just having a little fun with a veteran in a blowout, but then I quickly did the math and realize, oh, no, this is actually necessary: Anthony Rizzo was playing third base.
As a corner infielder, there are, of course, some similarities between third and first, and the demands – in terms of fielding and throwing – are actually similar. But the huge difference, of course, is that Rizzo is left-handed, which you do not see in the infield outside of first base.
Like, almost ever:
Rizzo first major league left-hander to play third since Mario Valdez of White Sox in 1997
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 23, 2017
But, you know Rizzo. He’s always up to the task:
From the best leadoff hitter in history to the best third baseman in history:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 23, 2017
Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Rizzo make a play, but I think we all know how it would have played out. “This is going to be a tough play … Rizzo! … THE CUBS BEAT THE REDS!”
As for Bryant, he’d better start thinking about the possibility he’s gonna get Wally Pipp’d:
Bryant joked about how Rizzo is prob sending 50 text messages abt playing 3rd & will prob change his Twitter profile to say "third baseman"
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 23, 2017
How about this factoid: since Rizzo has also been a second baseman this season by virtue of the team’s bunt defense, he’s the first lefty to play second and third base in a season since Wee Willie Keeler in 1901 (Sun-Times). Truly, Rizzo is breaking the mold.