‘Dogs eating their Wheaties in June…Thoughts on Anthony Rizzo
I think people love baseball due to the drama, and movie-like scripts that even Hollywood couldn’t write. Portland started their last roadtrip on May 31st, dropping a pair of games in New Britain, and finishing the month at 6-25. On June 1st, the Rock Cats scored eight times off Stolmy Pimentel in the second inning, but since that huge frame, Portland’s pitchers have allowed seven runs (six earned) over their last 52.2 IP (1.03 ERA). Now, I’m an eternal optimist, and didn’t see this coming. Portland finished May with a .252 average, but a 4.97 ERA and 35 errors. We always hope for some positive momentum when the calendar turns, so how’s 6-0, .351 batting average, 14 homers and 48 runs scored.
This offense has been very good since day one, and it’s gotten even better. Chih-Hsien Chiang has homered in four straight games, tying a franchise record. Josh Reddick homered in four straight in April of 2009. Portland has three hitters in the top 10 in average: Alex Hassan (2nd, .340), Chiang (8th, .311) and Will Middlebrooks (10th, .304), but what I’m more impressed with is the pitching. The ‘Dogs are out of the basement in team ERA (rank 11th at 4.48), and have six shutouts, the second best in the E.L.
This series is very interesting since Richmond is first in pitching, but their last ranked offense saw their average dip to .224 after last night’s game.
Here’s a photo of Anthony Rizzo getting his hand in before the tag in a game against Bowie. Last night, Rizzo was reportedly called up to the Major Leagues by the San Diego Padres, but a hand injury prevented him from his Major League debut. A little birdie told me about Rizzo’s promotion, but I can’t reveal my source. Rizzo was terrific for Portland last year, especially in his ability to make quick adjustments at the plate. For someone so young, he could adjust with each at-bat. I was very impressed with his work ethic, and not surprised how well he’s doing in Triple-A.