When the announcements are made Tuesday for the starters for the All-Star Game, Anthony Rizzo will represent the Cubs in the Midsummer Classic for the third straight year. And unless something unforeseen happens, Rizzo will be starting at first base for the National League.
Anthony Rizzo has lived up to the pre-season MVP talk over the first 77 games of the Cubs season. Rizzo has been dealing with a sore back again over the last week that had more of an impact on his defense than his offense.
Rizzo had another excellent series in Cincinnati that was highlighted by the first inside-the-park homer of his career. Unfortunately, Reds’ centerfielder Billy Hamilton was hurt on the play.
Rizzo hit the Cubs’ first inside-the-park homer since Tony Campana on Aug. 5, 2011 at Wrigley Field against the Reds. And there is a tie in to Anthony Rizzo with Campana’s homer. Reds’ left fielder Yonder Alonso misplayed the ball and gave Campana a window to streak around the bases. It was the acquisition of Alonso from the Reds in December that made Rizzo expendable in the eyes of the Padres’ brass.
Before Campana raced around the bases, Geovany Soto (May 19, 2008), Derrek Lee (Aug. 26, 2007) and Sammy Sosa (Oct. 6, 2001) hit the last three inside-the-park home runs for the Cubs. And Rizzo became the first Cubs’ player to hit an inside-the-park homer and an over-the-fence home run in the same series since Sammy Sosa against the Pirates in Oct. 2001.
Rizzo enters play on the last day of June riding a 10-game hitting streak and a .384/.471/.756 slash line with a 1.226 OPS. Rizzo has 33 hits in 24 games with almost half (16) going for extra bases. Rizzo has eight doubles and eight home runs in 86 at-bats. Rizzo has driven in 21 runs and has 13 walks with 17 strikeouts this month.
For the season, Rizzo has hit .284/.407/.576 with 18 doubles, one triple and 19 home runs for a .983 OPS. And in 74 games, Rizzo has 58 RBI, 45 walks and 44 strikeouts.
Rizzo is tied for fourth in the National League in home runs (19), tied for third, with Kris Bryant, in RBI (58), tied for sixth in walks (45), fourth in on-base percentage (.407), seventh in slugging percentage (.576) and third in OPS (.983).
Anthony Rizzo celebrated the four-year anniversary of his Cubs’ debut this week (June 26) and four years ago today (June 30) he hit his first home run in a Cubs’ jersey. What a month and what a four years it’s been for the 26-year old, soon-to-be three-time All-Star first baseman of the Chicago Cubs.