Anthony Rizzo Makes Chicago Cubs & Italy Proud

By Matt Heckler
Anthony Rizzo Team Italy
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Rizzo, the sole representative of the Chicago Cubs at the major league level in the World Baseball Classic, went 2-for-5 Thursday in Italy‘s first game of the tournament. With Italy facing off against Mexico, he batted in the third spot in the lineup and managed to win the close game for his country with a two-run double at the top of the 9th inning. The two-bagger put Italy into a 6-5 lead that they would hold on to and win the game.

For the Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo is seen as one of the future stars for the organization. He hit 15 homers last season in about half a year, and the team is hoping that he can continue that kind of success during a full season as the team’s primary first baseman. He was acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres early in 2012, and was dominant in AAA ball before being called up to the MLB team.

Probably more important than overall averages for any power hitter is their ability to hit in clutch situations. In 2012, Rizzo hit for a .285 AVG and .463 SLG overall, with a really impressive .338 AVG and .559 SLG with runners in scoring position, a siginicant sign that Anthony Rizzo can come through when it matters most. His clutch double for his country in the World Baseball Classic to defeat Mexico is further evidence of that, and hopefully a sign of things to come when he returns to the Cubs in a few weeks.

Matt Heckler is a baseball journalist for and a science fiction writer. Follow him on Twitter @androiddreamer and on Google Plus.

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