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To say Anthony Rizzo has adjusted well to hitting leadoff would be an understatement.
In his debut there on Tuesday, Rizzo hit the second pitch of the game at Citi Field for a home run. In his second game there on Wednesday, Rizzo hit the first pitch for a home run against Matt Harvey. The question entering Friday’s game was could Rizzo join Brady Anderson as the only players in MLB history to leadoff three straight games with a home run.
For a moment anyway, the answer was yes.
Fittingly, on the third pitch of Friday’s game, Rizzo crushed a baseball that was initially ruled fair, thus resulting in what everyone thought was his third straight leadoff homer.
Then, before he could settle into the dugout following his trot, the umpires had gathered and changed their call without even consulting replay.
Understandably, this did not sit well with Rizzo or Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Rizzo briefly had to be restrained by teammates before letting loose with a few choice words.
WARNING: Rizzo’s language here is NSFW or children.
Eventually the umpires went to review the play, which confirmed they were correct to overturn it. The baseball missed grazing the right field foul pole by mere inches.
Despite the clear evidence, Maddon continued the argument for Rizzo and was ultimately ejected by crew chief Jeff Kellogg.
Remember, players and managers are not allowed to argue plays after they’ve been reviewed, so it was the only call Kellogg could make.
Despite his initial reaction, Rizzo was not ejected. He continued the at-bat and ended up drawing a walk that sparked a Cubs three-run rally. It wasn’t the outcome he wanted, at least at first, but it worked out well.
Rizzo would later add a two-run single in the Cubs six-run ninth inning as they rallied to beat the Pirates 9-5.
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