VIDEO: Anthony Rizzo, shift-breaker
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo twice bunted for a hit to beat the shift Thursday. In his third at-bat, the Cardinals didn't shift nearly as drastically.
Rizzo bunted for a hit in each of his first two at-bats and then, in his third at-bat, the Cardinals didn't shift nearly as drastically. Here's the footage:
But is Anthony Rizzo paid to bunt for a hit?
Well, he's paid to help the Cubs. Those are hits, they count just the same as line drives to the outfield. It's not like there's anyone on base, so he needs to try and get things started for his team. On that note, following Rizzo's second bunt for a hit, Starlin Castro clubbed a two-run homer. I'd say that's a net positive for the team.
Perhaps most refreshing is the attitude of a young power hitter like Rizzo not letting his ego get in the way of taking advantage of the defense like this.
“Everyone wants to play these shifts and I got Starlin Castro hitting behind me,” Rizzo said, via csnchicago.com. “[Michael] Wacha’s a great pitcher. You get him in the stretch, try to get him off his game, maybe throw him off a little bit. But for the most part, if teams are going to give me that, I’m going to take it all the time.”
Rizzo is hitting .284/.405/.468 (138 OPS+) with seven homers and 21 RBI. He's played the part of run producer in the middle of the order very well this season so far, and now he's showing that he's just fine with playing the role of table-setter if presented with the opportunity.
If more hulking lefties start taking this approach, the advantage on the defensive shifs would swing back to the offense.