Castro running when he gets a chance

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs haven’t been shy about using their aggressive new approach on the base paths, but they can’t show it off unless they get on base.

With just six hits Sunday they didn’t get too many opportunities. That meant that Starlin Castro was held in check despite his one hit and one run driven in.

Castro entered the game leading the major leagues in stolen bases with six. By this point last season, the Cubs didn’t even have a steal.

So while Castro continues to work on the defensive side of his game, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already added a new dimension to make him an even better player.

While some managers might shun the running game or not incorporate as a major weapon, manager Dale Sveum has always held it in high regard. But that doesn’t mean he would incorporate it if it wasn’t appropriate.

“You still have to have the personnel to do certain things,” Sveum said. “It’s just a matter of when you have an opportunity to take advantage of things, you have to take advantage of things. You have to capture bases when the other teams give them to you.”

The Cubs don’t possess a lot of overall team speed, not with Tony Campana in Triple-A, but Sveum will use the running game to enhance the offense, especially since it’s been inconsistent in the early going.

“Stolen bases, whether the pitcher is slow to the plate or whatever, just helps to stay out of the double play, get things going.” Sveum said. “But it also creates an atmosphere for base running that is going to be the theme that I always talk about. Base running will win you games or lose you games. If you are very passive on the bases you’re going to lose games because of that too.”

Castro has now recorded a hit or an RBI in nine of the Cubs’ 10 games this season.