The Rundown: Rizzo Drives in 6, Neil Ramirez Not Getting Closer to a Return, Rondon Struggling with Location
Anthony Rizzo is good at baseball. Just in case you were wondering.
The emerging superstar knocked in a career-high six runs last night to help the Cubs defeat the Diamondbacks 9-6. It was a big win after a tough, disappointing extra-inning defeat on Friday night.
The Cubs overcame two separate two-run deficits, first trailing 2-0 through four innings. A three-run double put the Cubs on top briefly 4-2, but the D-Backs bounced back with four runs over the next two innings.
Things looked dicey, but the Cubs’ offense didn’t give up. Jorge Soler tied the game with a two-run double in the eighth.
And then Rizzo clobbered his ninth home run of the year — a three-run shot — into the pool area at Chase Field.
Anthony Rizzo is becoming one of the best hitters in the game, right before our eyes. I have to say, it’s pretty fun to watch.
Neil Ramirez (non)update
Justin Grimm returning to the Cubs has helped, but the bullpen is definitely still an area of concern for this team.
A healthy Neil Ramirez would help immensely; unfortunately, when that will happen in anyone’s guess.
Patrick Mooney writes that when asked about Ramirez’s status, Joe Maddon didn’t have a clear answer.
“I asked about him a couple days ago and there was nothing really relevant, like he’s close, he’s getting better, it’s on the horizon,” Maddon said. “I did not get that. “It’s kind of a status quo. Nothing awful, nothing a lot better, pretty much still in that limbo state.”
Ramirez hasn’t pitched since April 15. The Cubs need him desperately, as he was such an important weapon in relief last year.
Rondon struggling with location
Continuing the theme of a struggling bullpen, Hector Rondon is going through a rough patch lately (six earned runs over his last nine innings).
He blew a two-run lead with two outs on Friday night, which hurt.
The good news is that it sounds like it’s just a matter of pitch location.
“He had great stuff, he had outstanding stuff,” Joe Maddon told Carrie Muskat. “The velocity was good. He just got the pitch in a bad spot.”
A couple of tweaks is all he needs according to Miguel Montero. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that he’s going to be fine,” Montero said. “It’s just a little tweak here and there. A couple tweaks, and he’ll be fine.”
I’m not at panic-level yet with Rondon. I think the middle relief and setup roles are bigger concerns for this Cubs bullpen. Let’s hope Rondon gets these blips out of the way now an returns to form shortly.
Rondon got the night off last night, as Pedro Strop was brought in to pick up the save in the 9-6 win.
* Matt Szczur was hit by a pitch in the hand last night. He was removed from the game and was taken to get X-rays, according to Tommy Birch.
* Javier Baez had a nice night for Iowa last night, going 3-for-4 with two runs, two knocked in and a walk. He also homered on Friday. Keep raking, Javy.
* The Tennessee Smokies announced a couple roster moves yesterday: RHP Corey Black and infielder Stephen Bruno were activated from the disabled list, and outfielder Bijan Rademacher was placed on the DL. Rademacher collided with fellow outfielder Albert Almora the other day while attempting a catch.