In games decided by one run it takes just one mistake to change the outcome. In the Fourth of July game against the A’s, the Cubs came close to scoring a run in the fourth inning with Starlin Castro on second base. Alfonso Soriano hit a solid single into the outfield, and Castro was thrown out at the plate. That should be the end of it, but instead there seems to be controversy according to Behind the Ivy. Buster Olney questioned whether or not Castro was running the whole way. Here is the video from the Oakland A’s broadcast.
I was watching the Cubs broadcast on WGN, and I am guessing most people here were watching the same. The Cubs broadcast cut away as Castro was nearing third base and picked up as he was beyond the bag. He appeared to be running the entire way from what I saw. JD during that broadcast mentioned that he appeared to stop as he passed the shortstop Jed Lowrie, but I could not pick it up.
Watching the A’s broadcast in the clip, however, the tenor was completely different. The tone matches the Olney tweet which questions Castro’s effort on the play. But I am not certain that matches what actually happened on the play. Here is a picture with the ball still in the air and about where I think Castro first breaks stride.
Notice where the ball is and where Castro’s head is facing. Starlin Castro is clearly watching to make sure the ball drops. If you think that Castro should instead be focusing on his third base coach notice that David Bell is still trying to determine whether or not the ball will drop. Here is about a second after that picture from the Oakland broadcast.
The ball is clearly dropping down and Castro’s appears to be charging hard at the point. David Bell is waving Castro home at that point. It appears more than any lack of effort unfortunately the ball was hit in a tough spot to call for the runner. He had to wait to make sure the ball dropped before running hard. The ball unfortunately is quickly scooped by Yoenis Cespedes who makes a perfect one hop throw to the plate.
Castro’s slide into the plate is odd as well. It is impossible to see in either broadcast what coaching if any Anthony Rizzo gave Castro coming into the plate. But what I saw on the broadcast seemed to pretty clearly indicate that Castro was watching to make sure the ball dropped in a split second versus him “dogging” the play. What did you see?