Monday’s game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs was a snooze-fest for the hometown Wrigley Field crowd.
So manager Joe Maddon decided to give the Cubs faithful who stuck around to the end of a 7-1 Diamondbacks win something to cheer for while getting first baseman Anthony Rizzo off his back in the process.
Joe Maddon calls on Anthony Rizzo to pitch
Maddon handed Rizzo the ball with a chance to record the final Diamondbacks out of the game.
And he delivered.
Rizzo took the mound with two outs in the top of the ninth and threw two pitches to Arizona outfielder A.J. Pollock, the second of which resulted in a long fly-ball out to center field.
Rizzo’s wanted to pitch for a while
Rizzo has long lobbied to pitch, and finally had his request granted in his 997th career game.
In fact, it’s the second time in the past week that the prospect of Rizzo pitching came up. Maddon denied Rizzo his chance in a 18-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday where he used three position players on the mound in an effort to conserve his relievers ahead of a Saturday doubleheader.
Rizzo not happy after missing last chance to pitch
“I had to take Rizzo out of the game because he would’ve been badgering me the whole time,” Maddon told reporters. “It started by getting Rizzo out, and that made my decision-making process a lot easier. Imagine him being in your ear constantly that he wants to pitch.
Outfielder Ian Happ, who pitched in that game, said Rizzo was not pleased about being left out of the bullpen rotation.
“Rizzo is a little upset,” Happ said. “He’s been lobbying for a while. He’s still lobbying.”
But he got his chance Monday and delivered.
Rizzo was the second position player to take the mound for the Cubs Monday after catcher Victor Caratini pitched a scoreless inning in relief ahead of Rizzo’s appearance.
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