For reasons I shouldn't have to explain, not a lot of attention or interest was directed toward the National League Central "battle" between the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros on Tuesday night. But that changed for a few scary moments in the third inning when Cubs' rookie Anthony Rizzo was involved in a very scary collision with Houston's first baseman Brett Wallace.
The collision happened after Rizzo hit a routine ground ball to second base. Houston's Jimmy Paredes would field the ball cleanly on the backhand, and then made a very high throw to first base that ended up sailing over Wallace's head despite his best attempt at a jump. Unfortunately, as Wallace was coming down from his leap, Rizzo was just arriving at the base and the two came together in a very awkward manner.
Here's a look at the collision from two different angles:
Initially there was concern Rizzo may have caught a kick or knee to the head. Thankfully that was not the case, but he still clearly got the worst of the collision as his momentum carried him quite a ways past the base, resulting in a very hard, painful landing on his back.
Rizzo would remain on the ground for several moments after his fall but eventually walked off the field with little assistance. That was the first encouraging sign. Later, Comcast Sports Net Chicago's Patrick Mooney would report on Twitter that Rizzo escaped with only soreness in his right shoulder and upper back, so I think that qualifies as a best-case scenario for all involved considering how nasty it looked upon first glance. Wallace was able to stay in the game and complete it.
As far as the rest of the contest? Well, predictably, it wasn't any prettier than the collision. The two sides would combine to commit six errors — including the one charged to Paredes on his awful throw — yet combined to score only one run. That came on a Justin Maxwell's sacrifice fly, giving the Astros a 1-0 victory.