Three Shots Fired at Coors Field, Starlin Castro Involved

After an offseason riddled with reports of Starlin Castro’s potential involvement in shootings in his hometown, it has actually been a nice reprieve to have only baseball-related aspersions cast his way. It was even nicer to see him do his best to obliterate even those on Saturday night in Denver. Not only did he fire a shot, but he was involved in a couple beatings as well.

I can’t say that it matched the anticipation for Opening Night, but I was really excited for this game against the Rockies. Maybe it was because Saturday marked the fist time in the young season the Cubs had actually played consecutive games. The on-again, off-again reality of their schedule thus far had made it hard to find a groove, for players and fans alike.

And with only three runs scored — none of which came via the longball — in the first trio of games, there was a sense that the team was due to bust out. And what better venue than the Mile High City for an offensive jolt.

Okay, so I got the inning wrong, but Castro did launch a leadoff shot in the 5th, the Cubs’ third on the evening. It was a great way to make up for an 0-for-2 start that included a popup that bailed out wild Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick in the 1st and a strikeout in front of back-to-back homers from Chris Coghlan and Mike Olt. 

Were it not for his exploits later in the game, though, I might have assumed that Castro was simply hitting the ball into the seats in left-center so that he could avoid hustling around the bases. So great is his disdain for the Respect 90 concept, I reasoned, he’s going to increase his power stroke just to spite it. That erroneous thought went out the window in the 6th inning.

That’s when Castro busted it down the line after pushing a soft grounder to slick-fielding Nolan Arrenado at third. A vacuum with a powerful hose, Arrenado’s hot corner is baseball’s version of the Bermuda Triangle; it’s where balls go to die. But with a last-second lunge to the bag, the Cubs’ beleaguered shortstop beat the throw and allowed Jorge Soler to score.

The effort was a welcome site, but Castro’s all-too-familiar lunge was far from it. Each time I see it, images of sprained ankles and torn ACL’s dance menacingly through my head like a line of evil Grateful Dead bears. Yet each time, Castro walks off a small limp and continues on. I still don’t like the way it looks or the infinite potential for catastrophic injury, but I love seeing Starlin sprinting and making things happen.

As if one infield single wasn’t enough, Castro repeated the feat in the 9th by once more legging out a soft hit in Arrenado’s direction. If he’s hearing Addison Russell’s footsteps, it certainly hasn’t hurt his play. Quite the contrary, Castro may even be using the inevitable call-up as fuel.   

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