The Chicago Cubs will play their 46th game of the season on Friday when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, but it will mark the first time this season that one important player has gotten a day off.
That player is Anthony Rizzo, who has started the Cubs’ first 45 games at first base. When Joe Maddon unveiled Friday’s lineup, Rizzo wasn’t in it, and Kris Bryant will be manning first base for the Cubs against the Phillies.
Rizzo, who is batting .234 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI so far this season, traditionally will play in a lot of games, missing just two contests in each of the 2013 and 2015 seasons. This day off is probably related to his recent struggles, as Rizzo is 3-for-38 in his last 10 games and has zero home runs and just one RBI over that stretch.
Maddon seemed to agree with this assessment, saying that he's been "looking forward" to getting Rizzo a day off recently. He also said that he can't wait for Rizzo to get "toasty" again as he looks to turn things around.
Bryant will make his second ever start at first base for the Cubs on Friday, as he did have one start there during the 2015 season. He did play first base earlier this year for the Cubs, playing the position for one batter during a crazy game in Milwaukee where he played three positions in one inning.
Javier Baez will replace Bryant at third base for the game, which will kick off a 10-game homestand for the Cubs.