Cubs News

Anthony Rizzo retains crown as greatest relief pitcher of all time

3 years agoTony Andracki

Anthony Rizzo entered play Wednesday night with the greatest ERA in baseball history.

He will go into Thursday with the same mark after recording 2 outs in the Cubs’ 10-0 loss.

Rizzo still sports a career 0.00 ERA through 2 pitching appearances (he also recorded an out in the 2018 season).

He threw 15 pitches in the bottom of the 7th inning, walking a batter and recording a ground out and a strike out.

The whiff came against none other than Freddie Freeman, the reigning NL MVP, who had already homered in the game.

Rizzo told his manager, David Ross, that he specifically wanted to face Freeman.

“I was in the on-deck circle and had a straight shot to Freddie and I was kinda loosening my arm up and I go, ‘I want you,’ pointing at him,” Rizzo said. “It was fun. When Rossy asked if I wanted to pitch, obviously I’m not gonna try to blow it out and hurt myself by any means. … It helped lighten the mood here.

“Obviously we’re not winning but when you can have fun like that and break up kind of the bad feeling, it helps in the long run.”

Freeman entered the at-bat 4-for-4 on the night. After the strikeout, Rizzo made sure to throw the ball into the Cubs dugout as a keepsake.

“First career punchout,” he said. “Probably gonna ask him for his jersey, too. Have him write all his accolades on there, that he was 4-for-5 in the game with 1 punchout, 3 RBI. But yeah, try and have fun as much as you can in this game. You don’t know how long it’s gonna last.”

That last part is important. Yes, the Cubs lost their 5th straight game and Rizzo and his teammates were upset by that. But it’s a long season and moments of levity are crucial, even in 10-0 defeats. 

“So much credit to Freddie and how much fun he has playing this game, being in that moment too and having fun with it,” Rizzo said.

Freeman shared the same thought:

“Some good laughs for a lot of people,” Freeman said. “That’s what baseball is for — that’s what sports is for — to put a smile on people’s faces. I was on the wrong side of it tonight but I’m OK with it. I’m sure a lot of people got some good smiles and laughs because that’s what sports is about.”

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