Anthony Rizzo spoke for Cubs fans everywhere when he said he was sick of the comparisons to “The Cardinal Way.” No disrespect, but the Cubs first baseman isn’t obsessed with St. Louis or the same old storyline.
In front of a national-television audience, the Cubs couldn’t sweep their rivals as Yadier Molina came through with the big clutch hit late Sunday night at Wrigley Field. With the potential tying run on second base, Rizzo grounded out to end the game, a 5-4 loss that leads into a muted matchup with the White Sox.
“I don’t think any team or player ever wants to be compared to anybody else,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “You tip your hat. You give them their due respect, for sure. But when we come out to the field, quite frankly, I don’t want them to care who’s out there. I want them to take (anyone who’s) out on the field and believe they can beat ‘em. That’s the beginning of, maybe, the type of edge or attitude that we need to have.”
The 16-16 Cardinals have issues, but they snapped a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning against Hector Rondon. With the bases loaded and two outs, Molina fouled off four Rondon pitches before hitting a two-run single past diving shortstop Starlin Castro, the kind of bounce Cubs fans have seen the Cardinals get before.
“He fought me on a lot of pitches,” Rondon said. “I tried to go away, away, away and finally I tried to go in and I missed the location (with my sinker). But I still made a good pitch and got a groundball.”
Rondon (0-1, 1.69 ERA) notched the second and third saves of his career over the weekend. The organic/unofficial closer was pitching three days in a row and for the fourth time in the last five days. Renteria pointed out that Rondon had only thrown 20 pitches in his last two appearances combined.
While the Cardinals expect to get to October every year, the 11-18 Cubs are looking for moral victories and trying to develop at the big-league level, with Rondon emerging as a pleasant surprise in a disappointing bullpen. Last year’s Rule 5 guy stood at his locker and tried to put it in perspective.
“In my mind, I know I need to be more aggressive early in the count and try to finish the hitter,” Rondon said. “We lost the game, but we won the series. That’s a good sign for us.”