During the fourth inning of last night’s Cubs game, it became pretty clear that the Angels did not respect the arm of Welington Castillo. After Howie Kendrick singled to center, he moved to second-base on a hit-and-run, when Alberto Callaspo grounded out to shortstop. He then stole third base in the most literal way a figurative steal can happen. Sliding into third, Kendrick’s leg met the tag of Luis Valbuena well before his foot hit the bag, but he was incorrectly ruled safe.
Undoubtedly steaming from that call, and having Kendrick run around the bases on him, Castillo exacted revenge after Feldman walked Angels catcher Chris Iannetta. Pulling off one of the most underrated plays in baseball, Castillo picked up Feldman’s pitch and gunned Iannetta down.
That play not only likely saved the Cubs a run early in the game, but it’s such great textbook baseball, from Castillo’s throw to Rizzo’s tag. Welington is third in the majors right now, catching 11 runners stealing, and third in defensive wins above replacement.
And, you know, a guy simply can’t let another catcher dance around like that on his basepaths.