David Ross’ year-long retirement party has gotten off to a really good start.
‘Grandpa Rossy’ placed a huge checkmark on his baseball bucket list when he caught Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter. For everything Ross has accomplished during his 15-year big league career, he had not called a no-hitter before last Thursday.
Ross had a big Spring Training at the plate and it’s carried over to the first month of his final season.
David Ross hit his first longball of the season on Thursday and he’s just three short of 100 homers for his career. His teammates want him to reach the milestone.
The front office was often criticized last season for signing Ross to be Jon Lester’s personal catcher. Those that chose to focus on Ross’ numbers at the plate did not understand what he means to the Cubs on and off the field. Ross helped change the culture in the clubhouse and his leadership was an overlooked key to the team’s success.
What Ross means to his teammates has been brought to the forefront this year. And for those that only judge a player’s value by the offensive numbers he puts up, Ross has not given his critics anything to complain about.
Ross was 2-for-6 with a home run, a walk, three runs scored and three RBI during the two games in Cincinnati and he squeezed in a run.
For the season, the 39-year old backstop is 5-for-20 in seven games with a double, a home run and four walks (.250/.346/.450) for a .796 OPS.
Defensively, the numbers are exactly what you would expect from David Ross.
In the seven games he’s been behind the plate (61 2/3 innings), Ross has not allowed a wild pitch or a passed ball and the staff’s ERA is 1.61 in games he’s caught. Ross has thrown out three runners trying to swipe second base. Ross has a 33% caught stealing rate. Teams are 6-for-9 on the bases against Ross. And he’s picked off one runner from first base.
Ross was expected to catch once every five days when the season started. The injury to Kyle Schwarber changed the team’s catching plans. Ross will continue to catch Jon Lester and is expected to start most games in which the Cubs face a left-handed starting pitcher. Miguel Montero will catch the other games.
David Ross is having fun on the field right now and the Cubs are winning games. Ross will have a job in baseball after this season in a dugout, front office or broadcast booth but the Cubs are focused on reaching the ultimate goal before he hangs ‘em up.