CINCINNATI -- The Chicago Cubs might be third in stolen bases in the National League and dead last in home runs, but that doesn’t mean there is a correlation in the numbers.
Manager Dale Sveum shot down a theory that the Cubs are running more to compensate for the fact that they don’t have much power.
“I think it’s very important to put pressure on the other team when you can and take advantage of situations to stay out of double plays,” Sveum said. “Slugging percentage does you no good if the guy ahead of the guy who hits the double just hit into a double play. Then you hit the double with two outs and nobody on.
“It doesn’t make any sense when you can take advantage of a situation to just sit there and say ‘I don’t want to run into an out.’”
At the start of play Wednesday, Castro was atop the NL steals leaders at 10, tied with Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Emilio Bonifacio of the Miami Marlins. In just a short amount of time on the big league roster, Tony Campana has shot up that list with seven steals.
The presence of Bonifacio among the leaders is because new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has said he will start running more now that it’s become clear his club won’t hit for much power at spacious Marlins Park.
But while Guillen might start putting on the brakes if his team goes on a home-run binge, Sveum promises to continue running if his club finds its power stroke. And why not, he says. Castro has shown that he has a knack for stealing bags even though the other two guys atop the steals list are faster than him.
“[Castro] has been really good so far,” Sveum said. “He’s done a great job and knows the guys he can take advantage of. The bottom line too with base stealers is that they have to have the larceny to be able to pull that off. A lot of guys have better speed but they just don’t have the larceny or the skill factor to get good jumps at first base, or second base if you’re stealing third.”
So Sveum will let his guys run free until they show they don’t understand what they are doing.
“It’s the understanding that I’ll trust you and when I start losing trust that you don’t know when to steal bases, or understand the score of the game and the pitchers on the mound, the guys you can and can’t take advantage of, then we’ll sit down and readjust,” Sveum said.