CHICAGO – When Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo yelled “Respect me” on the basepath after driving in the go-ahead run in Monday’s Game 3 of the National League Division Series, it may have surprised manager Joe Maddon.
But Maddon understood.
As good as Rizzo has been over the past several years, Maddon agrees his star is still somewhat underrated.
“He has been underrated. I’ve talked about it,” Maddon said Tuesday. “For me, he always should be in the MVP consideration, always. And that (“Respect me”) is just Anthony being Anthony in the moment. I would almost bet that had he had a chance to re-evaluate what he said right there, he may have. But that’s just Riz.
“He’s very self-confident. And there’s not a thing wrong with that. In this game, there’s so much failure involved, you have to have that self-confidence to overcome the negative moments. That was truly Riz being Riz.”
What he said: Maddon isn’t getting ahead of himself about the possibility of a rematch with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.
But he did want to clarify comments he made in August about “bringing on” the Dodgers.
“That was brought up to me, and all I said was I was just agreeing with the comment,” he said. “Somebody brought up the Dodgers. They could have brought up the ’27 Yankees. I was not pointing anything out. I would just be happy to win this series and advance regardless of who it’s against. It’s just about advancing. So bring on whoever. We just have to take care of our share first and then we’ll worry one.
“When that was all going on, there was a lot of nonbelievers. We have really, obviously, picked it up in the second half. Since that series in Milwaukee (in late September), our mental intensity has been outstanding every game.”
Cubs starters dealing: For all the hoopla about the Nationals’ starting pitching, which includes Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, Cubs starters have an ERA of 0.48 in the first three games of the NLDS.
“They have spectacular pitching, the Nationals do, but our guys have matched them inning for inning,” Maddon said. “That’s why we’ve won. Their pitching’s been great. So has ours. You have to pitch better than really good pitching – great pitching – to win, and we have. It comes down to that. Our starters have permitted us to be in this position.”