The official but initial diagnosis for Anthony Rizzo’s injury is a sprained ankle with no fractures, but he’s getting an MRI this morning to determine the extent of the damage. A bad sprain can be a serious injury, keeping a player out for months. Even a mild sprain is going to cost Rizzo time … time that the Cubs don’t have.
Obviously you hope for the best – maybe two weeks and he’s back for the postseason? – but it just looked so bad. I have never seen the big guy look like he was in so much pain:
In the immediate aftermath of the injury, there was a total pall spread over Wrigley Field, with the fans in quiet shock and the Cubs quickly giving up five runs. For a brief moment, it felt like we had just watched the beginning of the end.
To their credit, the Cubs’ bats responded right away, and that was very heartening to see from an emotional standpoint.
“You felt it,” Kris Bryant told The Athletic of the moment Rizzo went down. “The fans were upset, we were upset. It was a light switch. That’s kind of the effect that Anthony has here. Great dude, great teammate, great player. Any time you see that happen, it’s going to be tough. But I think we responded really well. Guys stepped up and scored a ton of runs and we won a really important game.”
The Cubs do have something to play for still, and they remain firmly in playoff position. With or without Rizzo, the Cubs *can* make the postseason. They won’t be better for losing one of their best bats – and a guy who had finally been given a permanent chance to solve the leadoff problem – but maybe it does provide an opportunity to rally around something bigger than themselves. We joke about the Brewers’ whole “do it for Yeli” thing, but the reality is that there’s a little something to the way a terrible moment like this – and Javy Baez’s injury – can bring a team together.
The Cubs can cover first base with a combination of Ian Happ, Victor Caratini, and Ben Zobrist, so it’s not really an issue in that regard. It’s just the bat that you can’t replace, the excellent glove work at first base, and the on-field leadership.
For now, we wait on the results of the MRI. Joe Maddon tried to keep things optimistic after the game.
“On the field, he was in some pretty good pain. You knew he was coming out of the game,” Maddon told Cubs.com. “We’ll wait and see how it plays out. There’s the potential that it’s not going to be that long. Let’s just remain optimistic and see what they say.”