Run on Jon Lester? Not with Willson Contreras behind a plate

May 24, 2017 - running watch

May 23, 2017

CHICAGO — Cincinnati Reds outfielder Scott Schebler had no chance.

It was a fourth inning during Wrigley Field, and he had usually walked. He wanted to take on Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey and catcher Willson Contreras, though he got a bad burst and stopped, held in no man’s land. Before he knew it, a round was in initial baseman Anthony Rizzo‘s glove, and Conteras had warranted his fourth pickoff of a season.

“I would contend he [Contreras] has a unequivocally good arm,” Schebler pronounced a subsequent day. “The correctness is some-more considerable than a arm strength. It kind of seems like he puts it right on a button. … You take notice in your delegate [lead]. And you’re a small some-more aware. You’re streamer behind to a bottom a small quicker or during slightest branch your head.”

It didn’t work out for Schebler, though he shouldn’t feel so bad. He isn’t alone. Contreras already has matched his pickoff sum from final deteriorate while throwing out 37 percent of would-be bottom stealers. That’s about 10 points aloft than a joining average. And he’s usually removing better.

You won’t be astounded to learn a biggest customer of a strong-armed catcher. It’s a certain lefty starter for a Cubs who gave adult a major-league-high 44 stolen bases dual seasons ago.

“His talent speaks for itself,” Jon Lester pronounced Monday. “Right now, you’re observant a tender version. You’re going to have some mistakes and some over-aggressiveness to uncover off that arm. Kind of like a immature Pudge [Ivan Rodriguez] behind in a day. Just chuck to throw.

“What’s considerable is how accurate he is. He has a longer arm representation than many catchers. He’s means to make adult for that with a correctness and strength of his arm.”

Contreras is usually partial of a reason Lester has been worse to take against. Last year, with David Ross behind a plate, a antithesis swiped usually 28 bases off Lester, down from that joining high of 44. As he takes a pile Tuesday opposite a San Francisco Giants, he’s on gait to give adult usually 21 steals, and he and Contreras have total for a whopping 54 percent caught-stealing percentage. That’s 26 points improved than a joining average.

“I consider Jon is doing a improved pursuit stepping off and/or going faster to a plate,” Rizzo said. “And afterwards there is Willy.”

“Willy” has no fear. He’ll glow down to second even when it looks like a curtain has a bottom stolen, or he’ll laser one to Rizzo from his knees. Contreras loves to behind collect and is always prepared to take a shot, generally when Lester pitches.

Contreras was asked if he is a categorical reason for a fewer stolen bases opposite a Cubs lefty.

“I would not take credit for it,” he pronounced with a smile. “I tell him before a game, ‘You know they’re going to take a large lead on you, and we know they will start running, though if we have a good time to home plate, I’ll chuck him out.’ He’s been good stepping off a rubber. That’s been outrageous for us.”

It’s pushing a antithesis crazy. Many prepared to play a Cubs by meditative that they can take on Lester, though distinct a integrate of seasons ago, few are reckoning out how to do it right.

“Everyone is perplexing to moment a code,” Schebler said. “You would consider we would be means to take a bottom off Lester, though obviously, it hasn’t been really easy.”

Think about that matter compared to what players were observant — and doing — in 2015. It’s tough to take on Lester?

“If we was a runner, we would take a delegate step though a outrageous lead since if we take a outrageous lead and afterwards a delegate lead, you’re going to get picked off,” Contreras said. “Or Jon is going to step off and chuck your timing off.”

It’s not always flattering with Contreras, as evidenced by his 8 errors — 5 of that have come around his clever arm. There was even one on a forsaken third strike, that would have finished a diversion in St. Louis; luckily, a Cubs got a subsequent batter. It’s protected to contend Lester isn’t wrong in job Conteras “raw.”

“The disproportion between him and [David Ross] was maturity,” Lester said. “Ross picked his spots. … Willy is so immature and fervent that infrequently it gets him in trouble, though some-more times than not, it advantages us. It not usually shortens those guys adult on a bases, it doesn’t concede them to get a jumps they routinely get.”

The trickle-down outcome when Contreras shows adult on a scouting news for a antithesis even extends around a diamond, according to Lester.

“It gives a infielders that additional split-second to spin that double play or do whatever,” he said. “It shortens guys up. … When guys are second-guessing themselves, it’s an advantage for us. It’s small things like that that make us all better.”

By now, Rizzo knows many of a moments when Contreras competence chuck to him. The dual have a pre-pitch vigilance for when runners are inching toward bigger leads or delegate leads. But in Schebler’s case, a play non-stop adult for them usually after a bad burst on a unsuccessful take attempt. This is where Contreras is flourishing as a catcher. He saw Schebler demur and reacted.

“With a righty, we have a perspective and time to see if he’s too distant off,” Contreras said. “Rizzo is going to be prepared all a time. … With Lester, I’ll be prepared to throw, and when Lester is pitching, we usually ask him for a good representation to a plate.”

Lester’s savvy on a pile total with a rising chemistry between Contreras and Rizzo is giving runners something to consider about while also permitting a pitcher’s pickoff issues to continue to blur into a background.

“With Lester on a mound, they do keep we honest,” Schebler said. “That’s since it’s worked so good for them — since we know we can get that large lead, and afterwards we have to get behind to a base.

“You can take that large primary lead, though it kind of defeats a purpose of a secondary. You have nowhere to go, and we wish your movement going a right way. … It’s working.”

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