Rizzo heating up for Cubs as World Series shifts to Wrigley Field

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Anthony Rizzo reacts after scoring on Kyle Schwarber’s third-inning hit in Game 2.

As the World Series shifts to Wrigley Field deadlocked at one game apiece, keep an eye on Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who has suddenly become one of the Cubs’ hottest hitters in the postseason after a 2-for-28 start.

Why?

“Usually I always say, `It’s baseball,’ “ he said. “But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s the bat. Szczur’s bat. It’s just got me feeling good. And I just want to stay there.”

Teammate Matt Szczur laughed when told of Rizzo’s comment after he’d reached base three times in the Cubs’ Game 2 win, including an RBI double in the first.

But he doesn’t laugh at the power of comfort and confidence in baseball, even if the source is the bat a teammate borrows with no intention of returning after going 8-for-19 with two homers and three doubles in less than five games.

“I’m sure if it breaks, he’s going to ask for another one,” Szczur said. “But he won’t have to ask. I’ll put one there for him. … But I’m sure he could use a broomstick up there and be fine.”

Glove affairs

Rizzo also was among four Cubs named finalists for National League Gold Glove Awards, it was announced Thursday.

The three others: shortstop Addison Russell, right-fielder Jason Heyward and pitcher Jake Arrieta.

“It makes my day a little bit better,” Russell said, smiling, after hearing the news Thursday. “I take a lot of pride in [fielding]. It’s the part of my game where I’m most consistent. I work at fielding ground balls more than [batting practice].”

Three finalists were announced for each position in each league. Winners will be announced Nov. 8.

Montgomery wards off butterflies

Mike Montgomery had pitched in the two previous playoff series for the Cubs. But this was the World Series.

“I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t different — it is,” said Montgomery, after two scoreless innings of relief served helped beat the Indians in Game 2. “I tried to remind myself that it’s about the same as any postseason game but the first time you go through it there’s always going to be more adrenaline.”

And too much adrenaline can be a bad thing for a pitcher. Overthrowing never works.

“My adrenaline was going after the first hitter,” the left-hander said. “I really had to slow things down, tell myself it was just another game – my first time getting out there in the World Series.”

Montgomery, who’s in his first full season in the majors, is in the mix for a job in the starting rotation next spring. The World Series experience won’t hurt.

“Sometimes when you feel good as I did, the adrenaline is flowing too much, and it can be a challenge to throw the ball where you want,” he said. “But I feel like I did well with that. This is good for me going forward.”

Home cooking

After producing the best regular-season home record in Wrigley Field history (57-24), the Cubs have won four of five postseason home games this month.

The lone loss: 1-0 to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. They outscored the Giants and Dodgers 19-6 in the four other home games combined.

Daryl Van Schouwen contributed to this report


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