The Theo Epstein blueprint has been followed to a T, and Sunday's call-up of Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters from Triple-A Iowa, along with the trade of Jeff Baker to the Tigers for two players to be named, were the last big pieces in the first year of the rebuilding puzzle.
In a game that exemplified the expected growing pains, Rizzo's game-tying, ninth-inning home run was spoiled by Hanley Ramirez's walk-off RBI single in the Cubs' 7-6 loss to the Dodgers.
"Big hit by Anthony," Jackson said. "I thought we were going to get a little magic for my first game. But we'll save that for a later date."
The Cubs have lost five straight, but the hard part is only beginning.
How long it will take to win is anyone's guess.
"It's going to take some time," Baker said on his way out the door. "They're going to have to be patient. It's one of those things. To be honest, you're going to need these young guys who are coming up now to produce so you can cut the years down in this rebuild.
"If these guys come up and play well, you knock years off it. If they don't, then you've got to go find somebody else, bring somebody else in. You're moving parts, left and right. It's going to take some time, but I know they have the right guys doing it. The two guys who are doing it, you feel comfortable with."
The "two guys" are Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, who said the timing was right for Jackson and Vitters, despite Jackson's strikeout totals and Vitters' errors.
"I don't see a downside for either one of these guys as far as their development goes, coming up here and experiencing what the big leagues is all about," Hoyer said.
Playing center and batting second, Jackson went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his debut, while Vitters flied out as a pinch hitter. Neither got any sleep while going from Iowa to Los Angeles through Dallas.
"We were kind of like zombies on the plane," Vitters said. "We couldn't really think. It was hard to be nervous. We were just trying to get sleep and perform well when we actually got here. It was really fun though. It was amazing."
Jackson said he was "exhilarated" and caught himself laughing out loud during a wild debut, telling himself, "You're kidding me."
He looked like a pulling guard when he crashed into Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis in the seventh, which he called a "goofy barrel roll" into Ellis.
"I play the game physical," he said. "Example in Game 1."
Manager Dale Sveum said Jackson will play 80-90 percent of the time, which means less playing time for Bryan LaHair, one of the Cubs' two All-Stars. David DeJesus moves back to right, putting LaHair on the bench less than a month after his All-Star Game appearance.
"Awesome," Rizzo said of his new teammates. "This is what it is. We lost a lot of guys to the deadline, and today. This is what it's going to be hopefully now. There's going to be bumps. They're going to be valleys, but we all have to stick together."