Italy’s run through the World Baseball Classic came to an end last night in a 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico. Anthony Rizzo had all three RBIs for team Italy on a base clearing double. If not for some late-inning bad defense and a call or two that didn’t go their way, team Italy would still be playing.
Rizzo was the heart and soul of the team, not to mention their best player. He provided big hit after big hit while anchoring their defense. There is a good chance Rizzo will be named the WBC MVP — he is clearly in mid-season form.
What does this mean for the Chicago Cubs? The Cubs have a young double play combination in Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney, and no solid presence at 3rd. Rizzo in his second year gives the Cubs a veteran presence in a young player. The maturity he has shown, in both his play and attitude, make me believe he is the infield leader of the future.
Can the Cubs capitalize on the hot start Rizzo is sure to have? He is already swinging his bat for power. I think he will also win a Gold Glove at first base in 2013. The Cubs need to capture Rizzo’s attitude and let it be contagious to the rest of the team.
The team’s only hope of a good season is to get off to a hot start and to play like there is nothing to lose. If the rest of the team is able to feed off of Rizzo, then the Cubs might be able to climb out of the cellar. No matter how the Cubs finish, Rizzo has already proven he can lead a country deep into a national tournament.
By Reid Lester