Starlin Castro forgets how many outs there are, fails to turn double play

David Brown

Depending on which TV broadcast you were watching, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro either cost his team a victory by forgetting how many outs there were, or he merely appeared absent-minded and foolish by forgetting how many outs there were.

Not much of a choice if you're Castro, whose mind apparently wandered on a potential double-play grounder hit by Brandon Crawford that scored Buster Posey with the tying run in the fifth inning. The San Francisco Giants later took the lead and beat the Cubs 3-2 on Monday afternoon.

The Cubs broadcasters, whom you heard in the embedded highlight, didn't think the Cubs could have turned the double play. They're probably right.

The Giants broadcasters, on the other hand, were certain that Castro cost his team a double play. Further, they seemed downright angry with Castro, convinced that he also had just committed a high crime against the grand old game. And, in a way, he did.

Although it happens from time to time, of course there's no excuse for a major leaguer forgetting how many outs there are. Especially if you play the infield, where — you know — a lot of stuff happens. As talented as Castro is at age 22, his immaturity overshadows his youth too frequently. After the mess-up, cameras caught Cubs manager Dale Sveum shaking his head, and he later said he won't accept those kind of mistakes anymore. Via CSN Chicago:

"It's the last straw," Sveum said. "If he wants to play, he better start getting his head in the game. Period."

Sveum added that it didn't matter if the Cubs could have turned the double play; executing the right play isn't going to happen if players are caught unaware. Castro's blunder makes the whole team look bad (makes 'em looks like the Cubs stereotype) and reflects badly on Sveum and his coaches.

Sveum could have, but didn't remove Castro from the game — either on the spot or during the inning break. Probably a good move. Everyone, including Castro, knows he messed up. There's no sense in compounding his embarrassment by sending him to the clubhouse. It's not about punishment (strictly), it's about getting better.

Instead, pitcher Jeff Samardzija came over to give Castro a pep talk. I like how the Cubs handled the situation. Sveum didn't overreact. Samardzija didn't show up his teammate. Castro admitted how "embarrassing" the whole thing was. He'll grow from this. Probably.

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