WATCH: Rizzo becomes most efficient reliever of all time


by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo's relentless pleading with manager Joe Maddon to allow to him pitch in a blowout situation finally paid off, as he was granted the opportunity to make his big-league pitching debut on Monday night.

After not getting the nod to pitch in the Cubs' lopsided 18-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals last week, in which three Chicago position players pitched, Rizzo was given the opportunity to pitch with the Cubs trailing 7-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the top of the ninth.

The first two outs of the ninth were recorded by catcher Victor Caratini, who pitched for the second time in four days. With two outs, however, Maddon walked onto the field with new gloves for both Caratini and Rizzo, indicating that Caratini would switch to first base and pave the way for Rizzo to pitch.

Throwing a 53-mile-per-hour slider just a tad outside on his first pitch, Rizzo followed that up with a 62-mile-per-hour slider right down the pipe on his second one. Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock skied it into center field for an inning-ending flyout, providing Rizzo with a career ERA and WHIP of 0.00 and making a case for Cubs fans to claim him as the most efficient reliever of all time.

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