Anthony Rizzo is statistically the greatest leadoff hitter of all time. At least that’s what he’d like you to believe. Rizzo led off his first two games as the Cubs’ leadoff hitter with a homer.
His homers have since slowed down a bit, but he has still been very successful while batting leadoff. In 11 games, he is batting .333 with four homers and nine runs scored. While he doesn’t possess the speed that a typical leadoff hitter possesses, he has done an excellent job of getting on base. He currently has a .400 on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter.
Rizzo has played well against the Nats throughout his career. He has hit .316 with nine homers in 35 games. Of the teams that he has played at least ten games against, his batting average against the Nats is second-highest, behind only the Pirates.
Rizzo has been in the news quite a bit lately, for more than just his leadoff homers. Last Monday, he collided with Padres catcher Austin Hedges during a play at the plate. There is a rule specifically designed to prevent collisions at the plate, and Rizzo clearly violated it by colliding with Hedges despite the fact that there was an open lane to the plate.
MLB supposedly informed teams that Rizzo violated the slide rule, but would not be disciplined because they did not believe that he intended to hurt Hedges. It will be interesting to see how MLB handles future violations of the slide rule now that they have established an arbitrary line based on intent.
Rizzo has enjoyed success against the Nats in the past and the Cubs need him to stay hot if they want to win the series.