Frederick! Rizzo makes pitching appearance, K's Freeman


As Anthony Rizzo stood in the on-deck circle in the seventh inning Wednesday, he had a direct view of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.

“I was kind of loosening my arm up. Like, ‘I want you,’ pointing at him,” Rizzo said postgame.

Rizzo got his wish a half inning later, when manager David Ross put him on the mound for his second career pitching appearance amid a 10-0 Braves blowout win over the Cubs.

“He told me he wanted Freddie. He wanted to face Freddie,” Ross said of Rizzo. “That was able to lighten the mood a little bit.”

Rizzo’s outing started by getting pinch hitter Johan Camargo to ground out softly to first base. But then came the top of Atlanta’s order, starting with Ronald Acuña Jr. and then Freeman.

Rizzo walked Acuña on five pitches, joking he had to pitch around the young Atlanta star. That set up his desired matchup with Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP.

The Cubs first baseman struck him out swinging on a curveball down and away. He's now thrown a full scoreless inning in his career, also getting one out back in July 2018.

“Freddie was hot — 4-for-4 [entering the matchup]. But, at the end of the day, he’s 4-for-5 with a punch out," Rizzo joked.

“Obviously, we’re not winning, but when you can have fun like that and break up the bad feeling, it helps in the long run,” Rizzo added.

Rizzo said his dad taught him how to throw a curveball back in high school. Over the years, he’s messed around with his pitching routine during games while throwing around the infield during warmups.

As for Freeman, it's Rizzo's second viral moment with him this season. During a Sunday Night Baseball matchup two weeks ago, the two got in a rundown between second and third base. Rizzo, who was mic'd up, yelled "Frederick!" as he chased Freeman.

Both let out smiles after that moment, as well as after Rizzo's strikeout Wednesday. The Cubs first baseman said he has a photo of that rundown and had Freeman sign it.

"Probably going to ask him for his jersey too, have him write all his accolades on there, that he was 4-for-5 in a game with one punch out, three RBIs," Rizzo said. 

"You try to have fun as much as you can in this game. You don’t know how long it’s going to last."

“So much credit to Freddie and how much fun he has playing this game, being in that moment too and having fun with it," he added.

Freeman had a good laugh about the moment postgame as well.

It was a tough night for the Cubs, but out of it came another entertaining moment between two of the top first basemen in the game.

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