The Chicago Cubs need all the help they can get when it comes to their pitchers. Cubs’ catcher Wellington Castillo needs to improve the way he receives the ball. There are two things every plate umpire hates; holding a pitch and “framing” a pitch more than an inch or two. Castillo does both of these on a consistent basis and it is costing Cubs’ pitchers lots of strikes.
Holding a pitch is when a catcher thinks the pitch was a strike, so he holds the pitch for an extra second or two to give the umpire a longer look at the location of it. Most umpires are okay with a catcher giving them an extra look for a second, but Castillo is holding the pitch for much longer than the acceptable time. He has moved into showing up the umpire, and the big league guys won’t tolerate that. Not only will they have a little talk with Castillo behind the plate, but borderline pitches won’t go in favor of the Cubs.
The more egregious of Castillo’s issues is the “framing” almost every pitch. Framing a pitch is moving the catcher’s mitt to the edge of the zone to try and make a ball look like a strike. Every catcher does this to some extent, and umpires look for this when making their call. If a catcher moves a pitch, he obviously thought the pitch was a ball, and that makes the call easy for the good umpires. If the catcher can twist his glove to make it in the zone, a good umpire can grab that pitch for a strike. Castillo is consistently moving his glove three to five inches trying to make every pitch look like a strike. This destroys his credibility with the umpire and makes every pitch look bad. When you show up the umpire it doesn’t help you get the call, and the Cubs’ pitchers need all the help they can get.
By Reid Lester