Cubs Observations: Anthony Rizzo's walk-off ends Dodgers sweep

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Observations: Rizzo's walk-off completes Dodgers sweep originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs beat the Dodgers 6-5 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep, also improving to 15-16 on the season.

Here’s 10 observations from the game.

1. Anthony Rizzo was part of a defensive mix-up in the top of the 11th inning Wednesday that almost cost the Cubs. Instead, Rizzo made amends with a walk-off single in the bottom half of the inning.

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2. On that defensive mix-up, Rizzo fielded a chopper near first base and threw to Javy Báez at second, who tagged Will Smith out. He didn't step on first before his throw to start a potential 3-6 inning-ending double play.

Báez didn't send a return throw back for a potential 3-6-3 double play. Max Muncy scored the go-ahead run.

“I kind of tight roped first base, not touching it purposely to get the double play [3-6-3],” he said. “I don’t think Javy saw that.”

Rizzo got the day off before entering in the 10th inning.

3. Matt Duffy and Jake Marisnick were two under-the-radar additions last winter, but they’ve brought steady production to the Cubs lineup this season. Duffy had their first two hits off Walker Buehler and reached base three times. Marisnick hit a game-tying two-run homer. 

Duffy's RBI single tied things in the 11th and he stole second base to get into scoring position.

4. Missed opportunities were plentiful for the Cubs’ bats Tuesday night, when they went 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position. They had fewer chances Wednesday but experienced similar results (2-for-11). 

But, like Tuesday, they pulled out the win.

5. Adbert Alzolay not only pitched five strong innings Wednesday, but he went toe-to-toe with Buehler. The young Cubs right-hander allowed two runs on just three hits in his five innings, striking out seven with one walk on 79 pitches.

One of those strikeouts came on a nasty two-seam fastball to Mookie Betts.

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Buehler threw six innings of two-run ball.

6. Alzolay's a unique case because the Cubs are monitoring his innings closer than his rotation mates this season. In any case, Cubs starters have pitched six innings only eight times in 31 games this season.

7. Kris Bryant’s bat is drawing all the attention this season, but his defensive versatility has been extremely valuable too. He’s started at four different positions in as many games, from all three outfield spots to first base on Wednesday.

8. Everyone has an off game, even All-Star closers. Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the season Tuesday night but responded with a 1-2-3 ninth on Wednesday, striking out two.

9. It's been a long time since the Cubs swept a reigning World Series champ. As in, it's been nearly six years. They swept the Giants in four games at Wrigley Field Aug. 6-9, 2015.

The Cubs' series win is their first vs. the Dodgers since April 23-25, 2019. 

10. Ian Happ hasn’t started since Sunday’s collision with Nico Hoerner but was available Tuesday and Wednesday night off the bench, David Ross said pregame. Happ didn’t take a plate appearance in either game, however. 

On deck: The Cubs are off Thursday before this weekend’s home three-game series with the Pirates. Former Cub Trevor Cahill (1-3, 7.40 ERA) and Zach Davies (1-2, 8.22 ERA) are Friday’s probable starters. First pitch is 1:20 p.m. CT.

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