Anthony Rizzo hesitated between third base and home. That’s the mistake he would highlight after the Cubs’ 3-2 extra-innings loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday.
“That’s on me,” Rizzo said of his 10th-inning baserunning gaffe. “It was up the middle, and I froze, and I should have just gone right away to stay out of the double play. And I didn’t, I messed up, and it’s just a bad feeling.”
Rizzo isn’t a speedster, but it would have at least been a close play at the plate. Instead, Ian Happ’s ground ball with runners on first and third led to a force out at second base and a futile run down between third and home.
Just like that, the score remained tied with two outs in the top of the inning. The Cubs would go on to lose in walk-off fashion, thanks to a game-winning RBI single from Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
“We, as a group, you know, left some guys stranded early on that we should have got in,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We shouldn't have even been in that situation, to be honest with you.”
He’s right. The Cubs went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position in a tight game. But Rizzo’s mistake only highlighted the kind of funk he’s in.
“They’re just not coming,” Rizzo said of his recent results at the plate. “I feel fine, body feels fine. You’ve got to keep grinding, got to playing baseball. One little hit here, one little hit there, bloop single, could change it all on a second.”
Rizzo almost had that hit in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and score knotted at 2-2. He smoked a ground ball to the right side of the field, 103 mph off the bat. But St. Louis second baseman Tommy Edman knocked the ball down and threw to first for the final out of the frame.
“I feel really good in the cage, feel really good in (batting practice),” Rizzo said. “And today’s probably the best I’ve felt, and then I get to the game, it just didn't translate. So, when you get into ruts, you do whatever it takes.”
Rizzo, who has logged two hits in his past five games combined, even tried hitting without batting gloves in one plate appearance Thursday. It didn’t help.
“It's part of the game,” Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks said. “He handles it really better than anyone. The hard worker that he is, he's grinding, trying to figure it out, obviously. And you know it eats at him, but he's obviously going to come out of it.”