10:05 p.m. EDT update: Nope, no promotion. Rizzo left Triple-A Iowa’s game with a sore right wrist, according to CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney.
The Cubs could be ready to pull the trigger on a big move following a humiliating sweep at the hands of the Pirates. CSNChicago.com states that Anthony Rizzo was pulled from Triple-A Iowa’s game Sunday for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning, and no injury was reported.
Of course, this being a minor league game, Rizzo could still be injured and no one is willing to say quite yet. Or it could even be a punitive benching.
One thing is for sure: the Cubs, losers of 12 in a row, are in desperate need of a lift. And Rizzo would seem to be the obvious candidate to provide it. The 22-year-old has hit .354/.416/.713 with 17 homers and 44 RBI in 178 at-bats for Iowa this season.
A Rizzo promotion would likely put Bryan LaHair in left field, turning Alfonso Soriano into a very expensive and likely unhappy fourth outfielder.
Still, this might be much ado about nothing. A source told David Kaplan that the Cubs still aren’t quite ready to make the Rizzo move yet.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.