This season has been filled with memorable games and performances, yet Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field might have provided the best individual moment for a player on a team that ended the day a season-high 25 games over .500.
Starlin Castro had a career day against the Cardinals, a team that the Cubs have really struggled with over his six seasons in the majors. Castro broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run homer in the fifth and in his next at bat he launched a three-run homer to left. And for the first time in his career, Castro made a curtain call.
Bruce Miles talked to Castro after the game and at the time got the quote of the day from the 25-year old infielder.
“I have six years here and that happened never. That’s my first time, and I enjoyed it so much.”
Starlin Castro went 3-for-3 with two home runs, a walk and six RBI. The six RBI tied a career high he set the first time he stepped on a big league field on May 7, 2010. Castro’s manager for his big league debut five years ago was Lou Piniella.
By all accounts Starlin Castro has handled his demotion from the Cubs everyday shortstop to a bench role with class and professionalism. Castro has worked hard to make improvements and stay ready so when Joe Maddon called his number he was prepared to play.
Since moving into a back-up role, Castro has hit .356/.370/.589 with six doubles and five home runs. And Iowa Cubs’ broadcaster Randy Wehofer summed it up the best. “The humbling nature of baseball reveals character and I couldn’t be more impressed with what I’ve seen from Starlin Castro in the last month.”
After the worst stretch of his career in which he batted .247/.283/.321 in 86 games, Castro has a post-break slash line of .280/.301/.429. And over his last 13 games, Castro is batting .395/.425/.737 with a double, four home runs and a 1.162 OPS.
Starlin Castro had one bad year over the course of his career prior to this season and has been rather consistent at the plate while learning how to play the game and what it takes to be a Major Leaguer. Castro has a career slash line of .280/.302/.402 with a .722 OPS in 877 games and is 25 hits shy of 1000 in his career. Castro has played for some of the worst teams in franchise history. It is good to see him play for a winning team for the first time.
Over the years Starlin Castro has become quite the lightning rod for the fan base and the media, Friday afternoon he was able to take in what is good about being a Cub and playing at Wrigley Field.