8/17 Castro: “It’s my mistake”
Dale Sveum said he wanted to think about whether or not Starlin Castro will play in Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals after the shortstop’s mental gaffe cost the team a run in a 4-0 loss.
The Cardinals led, 1-0, when they loaded the bases with one out in the fifth against Travis Wood. Matt Carpenter hit a popup to Castro in shallow left, and third-base umpire Ron Kulpa invoked the infield-fly rule. Castro caught the ball, and seemed unaware of Jon Jay, who was at third, who broke for home and scored on the sacrifice fly. Castro eventually did throw home, but it was too late.
“I knew the outs and everything, but I put my head down and made a mental mistake,” Castro said. “I don’t want to make any excuses for that. It’s my mistake and that’s why I paid for that, that’s why I came out of the game. I feel really, really bad that it happened, especially with Woody pitching good. I have to pay for that. That’s a mistake that can’t happen in the game.”
Left fielder Junior Lake was yelling at Castro to “Be careful.” Give Jay credit for heads-up baserunning.
“I know the wind can be tricky here, and I saw him make the catch, put his head down, and that’s when I took off,” Jay said. “I took a couple steps and then decided to take a gamble and it worked out.”
Sveum met Castro in the dugout as soon as the inning ended and told the shortstop he was done for the day. Castro was replaced defensively in the sixth, as Donnie Murphy moved from third to shortstop and Cody Ransom entered at third. Castro watched the rest of the game from the dugout.
“The situation is obviously we had a big blunder there and he lost track of what was going on for whatever reason and I pulled him out of the game,” said Sveum, who had never penalized a player like that in his managerial career.
Did Castro offer an explanation?
“There is no explanation,” Sveum said. “A guy caught a ball, a popup, and the [baserunner] should’ve stayed at third base. That’s the bottom line.”
As to whether Castro will play Sunday in the series finale, Sveum said, “I haven’t gotten that far yet.”
It’s been a tough season for Castro, a two-time All-Star, who began the year with a .297 career batting average in the big leagues. He is hitting .244 this year, and is 0-for-16 in his last five games — including two at-bats on Saturday.
“It’s bad,” Castro said, when asked to describe his season. “It’s an unbelievable year, especially for me. I’ve never had a year like that. I feel really bad, especially with that mistake. Today, and my struggles at home plate [hitting], it’s really tough. I don’t put my head down. I know I can be good and finish strong.”
Did he expect to start Sunday?
“Yeah, for sure,” Castro said. “I want to be there, and give 100 percent. I know that kind of thing can’t happen again.”
Said Sveum: “There are only so many meetings, and so many things you can say. When you’ve played this much baseball, it gets to the point where you have to do it yourself.”
— Carrie Muskat