The Cubs lost their fifth straight game on Wednesday in an embarrassing fashion to the Braves. Atlanta, who has seemed to find an offensive groove, bested the Cubs by a score of 10-0.
Chicago did have one reason to smile on an overall embarrassing night for the franchise. First baseman Anthony Rizzo came into the game in relief and struck out Freddie Freeman, the reigning National League MVP.
Rizzo did what no other Chicago pitcher could do Wednesday. Freeman was four for four, heading into the at-bat with a homer and three RBIs.
The secret to retiring Freeman: Throw under 70 MPH.
Freddie Freeman Comes to the Plate in the 7th
Freeman was phenomenal on Wednesday night, which makes this strike out even more comical. Rizzo and Freeman could not stop laughing for the duration of the at-bat. The Brave was the heavy favorite to win the battle, but Rizzo came out on top.
This was one of a few battles that the Cubs won all night long. Rizzo worked his 74 MPH fastball in conjunction with his 61 MPH curveball. The off-speed pitch ultimately sent Freeman back to the Braves bench on strikes.
Check out the overlay from Rob Friedman, aka. @PitchingNinja
Anthony Rizzo, 74mph Heater and 61mph Hammer, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/taPQax4pvT
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 29, 2021
The at-bat was five pitches in length. Freeman went up 2-0 before a called strike and a foul tip. Rizzo threw the deuce on the fifth pitch to sit Freeman down on strikes while the entire stadium erupted in laughter.
The At-Bat that Baseball Needed
In the seventh inning, Cubs skipper David Ross planned to pitch Matt Duffy, a Chicago infielder. However, Rizzo looked up at the scoreboard and saw that Freeman was coming to the plate.
He turned to his manager and said he wanted Freeman.
The first baseman has toed the rubber a few times in his career, and he has yet to give up a run.
Ross was happy to give Freeman a shot to strike out his buddy. After the game, Ross said,
“When you have a night like tonight, you try to just take a mental break and enjoy it. That was a nice moment for Rizz. He told me he wanted Freddie.”
After Rizzo demoralized Freddie Freeman in five pitches, Ross made the call to the pen, and Rizzo happily handed him the baseball. His night of work was finished.
The “pitcher” threw two-thirds of an inning with a walk and a strikeout. It was a night well done for the All-Star first baseman.
Rizzo told the press that,
“I’m probably going to ask him for his jersey, too. Have him write all his accolades on there, that Freeman was 4-for-5 in the game with one punchout, three RBIs. You try to have fun as much as you can in this game. You don’t know how long it’s going to last.”
It’s good to see the players having fun, but Chicago better watch out, or they will be throwing position players a lot throughout the remainder of the season.
The Cubs have the 29th ranked pitching staff in baseball for ERA with a 4.82. Maybe David Ross should consider adding Anthony Rizzo to the rotation and make him the Shohei Ohtani of the National League…
I do not want to destroy my journalistic integrity, so I will confirm that my previous statement was a joke. However, Chicago needs to get better production out of their wings soon, or they will be in for a long summer.
Tanner Kern is a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website. Connect with Tanner on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_.
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