The Cubs lost a game they probably should have won on Wednesday night, and it is now Friday morning. We have had no baseball in between to wash that rotten taste from our mouths. Ugly losses before off-days, man. They are the worst.
To help tide you over a bit for tonight’s game in Boston, let me make sure you saw a great highlight from that Wednesday loss. It’s Willson Contreras showing off his gun, firing on a stolen base attempt from his knees, complete with a beautiful, casual Javy Baez tag:
It looks like Francisco Cervelli – with 13 career steals – thought he was going to catch Mike Montgomery napping. And that did look to be a pretty slow, deliberate delivery to the plate, so maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea.
But … again … it’s Willson Contreras and Javy Baez. Unadvised.
We already know about Baez’s legendary tagging skills, and Contreras is showing himself to be one of the best arms behind the plate. The only way that play could be made is if he popped the ball almost instantly (hence the throw from the knees) *and* got enough mustard on it *and* put it in the perfect spot. Check, check, and check.
That was Contreras’s 6th runner gunned out this year, tied for third most in baseball. His 40% caught stealing rate is 15th. Consider, too, that he’s been working with some pitchers who are especially known for their penchant to give up stolen bases (Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta being two of the most notable in recent years).
There are still things for Contreras to improve on behind the plate, particularly with his glove work, but the natural talent is so obvious. And enjoyable.