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Cubs call on Rizzo to pitch with bullpen weary

Farrell unable to find rhythm in spot start, allowing 5 runs in 1st
July 23, 2018

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were hoping for innings from spot starter Luke Farrell. Instead, manager Joe Maddon had to resort to using catcher Victor Caratini and first baseman Anthony Rizzo as pitchers to save his bullpen and finish Monday night's game.Farrell lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs in

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were hoping for innings from spot starter Luke Farrell. Instead, manager Joe Maddon had to resort to using catcher Victor Caratini and first baseman Anthony Rizzo as pitchers to save his bullpen and finish Monday night's game.
Farrell lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs in the first inning and a solo homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the second, in the D-backs' 7-1 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
"It was a tough start," Maddon said of Farrell. "That's the one thing we couldn't have happen tonight and it happened."
This was the second time in the last five games the Cubs have called on a position player to pitch. Rizzo has been begging Maddon for the opportunity but said he won't do it again after throwing two pitches to A.J. Pollock for the final out of the ninth.
"The end. That's it," Rizzo said. "It was awesome. I promised Joe I wouldn't blow out [my arm]. … It was pretty crazy standing on that mound.
"I got to do what I wanted to do. A lot of fun and a career zero ERA now."

The win helped the D-backs keep pressure on the Dodgers in the National League West, while the Cubs maintained their lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
Farrell, 27, was making his second start for the Cubs this season and did so in front of Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, who has watched the right-hander grow up. Lovullo has known Luke's dad, John, since 1993 when they were teammates on the Angels. They were together with the Indians and Red Sox organizations as well.
"It was great for me to watch," Lovullo said. "And even though the results weren't great for him, I stepped back for a minute just to appreciate what was going on inside of my life, knowing that he's earned everything that he's gotten in this game. To watch him start today was awesome for me."
"I can think back to being a kid and he would hit me ground balls in Spring Training," Farrell said. "It's certainly a small world in baseball. He's somebody I have a lot of respect for."
The Cubs have much more respect for the D-backs' Patrick Corbin  -- who Maddon said channeled his "inner Steve Carlton" -- after he scattered six hits over seven innings, striking out nine. Chicago now has won 17 of 24 games against left-handed starters, still the best record in the NL.
Farrell faced nine batters in the first as the D-backs opened a 5-0 lead. Goldschmidt didn't get a hit in the first but connected with one out in the second, hitting the first pitch from Farrell -- an 89-mph fastball -- into the right-field bleachers for his 22nd home run of the season.
"He's definitely got the makeup to be here, stuff-wise too," Maddon said of Farrell. "We've put him in a lot of tough spots. If you don't like some of the work that's happened [with Farrell], it's my fault. I put him, always, in a tough spot. And he never complains. He just takes the baseball and goes out there and throws it well."

It just didn't work out Monday night.
"Whenever you have a position player pitch in a game you started, you know you didn't do your job," Farrell said.
In a pinch: Corbin held the Cubs to three hits over the first five innings. Ian Happ then doubled to lead off the sixth and moved up on Jason Heyward's pinch-hit single before scoring on Rizzo's fielder's choice. Second baseman Daniel Descalso dove for Rizzo's ball and pushed it toward shortstop Ketel Marte for the force on Heyward at second. One out later, Corbin ended the inning when he got Albert Almora Jr. to hit a comebacker.

Pitching in: For the second time in the Cubs' past five games, they needed a position player to pitch. Caratini was called in with a runner on first and two out in the eighth, and he only needed one pitch to get Jonathan Jay to fly out to right to end the inning. Caratini also pitched an inning on Friday, as did Happ and infielder Thomas La Stella. Caratini is the first Cubs position player to pitch twice in a five-game span since Doug Dascenzo on June 28 and July 2, 1991. Rizzo, who has been pestering Maddon for a chance to pitch, was asked to get the final out in the ninth and needed two pitches to get Pollock to fly out to center. Rizzo's first pitch was a 53-mph curve.
"At the end of the game, there's no way I'm going to warm up [Justin] Wilson, [Steve] Cishek, [Pedro] Strop, [Carl Edwards Jr.] or [Jesse] Chavez in a game like that," Maddon said. "I just had to do what we had to do to maintain the integrity of our bullpen, hit that reset button, whatever you want to call it. It's never fun to have to do that."
Said Goldschmidt: "I don't want any part of [pitching]. I'm happy to just play first base."

"The game we lost to the Cardinals late was the one that stings the most. These games, you know, they're going to happen. We move on from them pretty easily. Obviously, we don't ever want to pitch as position players. We always joke around about it, but on a serious note, it is what it is." -- Rizzo
Goldschmidt hit a grounder to Rizzo to open the D-backs' seventh and the first baseman flipped the ball to pitcher Randy Rosario. Goldschmidt was called out but Arizona challenged the ruling and after a review, the call stood.

Kyle Hendricks will face the D-backs on Tuesday in the second game of this four-game series at Wrigley Field. Hendricks opened the second half against the Cardinals, throwing a season-high 113 pitches over 4 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs in that outing. He's 3-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 home starts, holding teams to a .227 average. For the D-backs, right-hander Clay Buchholz will return from the disabled list to make the start. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.