Rizzo Shoots & Scores!
Glad tidings from breezy Principal Park where the I-Cubs climbed all over the Tacoma Rainiers and snapped a four-game skid with an 18-8 slapstick win this afternoon. Anthony (Ratso) Rizzo (who else?) paced Iowa with a record-tying performance in support of Chris Volstad's first outing for the team.
Rizzo lined his 15th homer to the luxury seats in left-center on the first pitch in the bottom of the 2nd for the game's first run. 25 more would follow and Rizzo scored four of them to tie the club record of five in a game. He also drove in two of the others with a bases-loaded single. All told Rizzo had three hits and reached on two of the Rainiers' half dozen errors. The stands were full of field-tripping grade-schoolers, a random batch of whom could have acquitted themselves as professionally with their gloves as did the visitors.
Volstad? The highlight was striking out the side in the first, all swinging, with a single mixed in. I would estimate that 90% of his pitches registered between 89-91. He looks imposing on the mound but is not and seems to have little margin for error. In only one of his six frames did he retire the side in order. The top of the 3rd started out like it might be his designated poor one for the day when he walked the leadoff man on four pitches and then gave up a single. But he righted himself there, surrendering only a sacrifice fly as he retired the next three hitters. In the 6th he had two down with a man at first when he ran out of gas and was rocked for a homer, a single and a double before Luis Valbuena rescued him with a diving snag to end the uprising. In fairness, that sequence began with Iowa in front 16-1 and he was in a new city throwing to a new catcher against a new opponent.
Steve Clevenger started at DH today in a rehab assignment and batted twice before he was removed after three innings. He may have tweaked something frollicking around the bases and sliding home in the midst of the Tacoma fielding follies. Luckily Rizzo wasn't hurt while running more laps in a game than any I-Cub has since Roosevelt Brown at Omaha's venerable old Rosenblatt Stadium in the previous century.
Brett Jackson had the day off.