Javier Baez and the Cubs' defense come up short

From ESPN - August 13, 2017

PHOENIX -- How many errors does it take for an elite infielder to lose that label? Chicago Cubs shortstop/second baseman Javier Baez must be approaching that line after committing his 10th error of the season at shortstop (14th overall) in Saturdays 6-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Now the Cubs are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the National League Central.

Baez isnt making the spectacular play anymore -- he missed one to open the sixth inning -- but now hes not making the routine one, either. Down 1-0 in the sixth with runners on second and third base and the infield in, Baez threw way wide of home on a Ketel Marte ground ball to make it 2-0. Then the floodgates opened.

We have to make that play at the plate, manager Joe Maddon said. Thats routine.

Its not the first time Maddon has made those comments about Baez, who should be judged based on his talent, not necessarily by the talent of his peers. When teammate Addison Russell makes a throwing error, its with the understanding that he doesnt have as strong of an arm. Baez has a rocket, but it isnt always accurate, certainly not enough of the time. Heres some perspective: Baezs 10 errors at shortstop this season were compiled in 289 innings played. Russell has 11 in 729 innings at the position. The latter player has been on the disabled list with a sore foot, forcing Baez into everyday action.

Javy is having a wonderful year overall, Maddon said. Its just a matter of putting him out there too often sometimes. I like to give him a break once in a while. Right now, there is no break. ... We need Addison back to balance it out. When Javy is [at second base], were really good on the infield. Thats hopefully forthcoming relatively soon.


Continue reading at ESPN »