Anthony Rizzo Busts out of Slump with Teammate's Bat

Anthony Rizzo switched bats and now all of a sudden he can hit again.

by Mike Vorkunov
Oct 20 2016, 6:16pm

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball players are so weird sometimes. They love superstitions.

Take Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Until last night, he was really struggling this postseason. He had just two hits in 26 at-bats going into Game 4 of the NLCS after he was an All-Star this year with a .928 OPS.

The big problem? His bat. Apparently his own wasn't good enough—fresh out of hits. So Wednesday, he changed back to his good-luck charm: teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I hit well with his bat, so he has hits in it," he said. "Same size, just different model and different name, and it worked."

Yeah, it did. He went 3-for-5 with a big dinger. And it's not like Szczur needs that bat right now—he's not even on the NLCS roster.

Here's a portion of a fun, explanatory GIF—the whole clip is available here—that we could not embed because it was too big/awesome.

"He's done it a few times, just to grab my bat," Szczur said. "It's the same weight and size, just a different model. He just grabs. He did it last night and got his first hit, that broken bat single. I wrapped another for him today. Just trying to help the team any way I can, you know?"

Now, look, was it actually the bat? Come on. Pedro Baez threw a 98 mph fastball belt-high and over the middle of the plate. Rizzo is one of the best hitters in baseball—yeah, he should crush that.

But it's fun. The cubs are loose and silly and it's a nice, tidy storyline, right? And if it works for Rizzo, then the Cubs should have dozens of Szczur's bat ready for him Thursday.

"It should help their confidence, there's no question about that," manager Joe Maddon said. "When you're going through the moment they were, it's a confidence issue. It always is."

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