By STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero blamed pitcher Jake Arrieta for allowing seven stolen bases in a 6-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
Montero unloaded on Arrieta for his slow delivery not giving him a chance to throw out baserunners.
“It really sucked because the stolen bases go to me, and when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time,” Montero said. “So it’s just like, ‘Yeah ok Miggy can’t throw nobody out,’ but my pitcher doesn’t hold anybody on. …
“That’s the reason why they were running left and right today because they know he was slow to the plate. Simple as that. It’s a shame that it’s my fault because I didn’t throw anybody out.”
The seven stolen bases — four by Trea Turner, two by Michael Taylor and one by Anthony Rendon — tied a Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise record. Washington manager Dusty Baker called Arrieta “a guy you can run on” and said Montero “isn’t throwing like he was before,” and Turner noted Arrieta’s reputation for being “slower to the plate.”
Montero has caught just 1 of 32 attempted base stealers this season, while runners are 15 of 17 in attempts with Arrieta pitching. Runners have succeeded on 83 percent of steal attempts against Arrieta in his career, well above the league average, which this year is around 72 percent.
Montero, who had an error on a throw to third, said it’s frustrating for a catcher to get the ball and see a runner almost to the base.
“It was a couple times I didn’t even try to throw because it was no time, it was no chance to throw nobody (out) there, so why am I even going to make a throw?” Montero said. “It really hurt me. He hurt me. I feel like I can still throw, like I got a good arm, my arm feel great. I just try to be quicker, I try to be perfect and to make those two together, it’s hard to do.”
Arrieta, who issued a season-high six walks and allowed six hits in four-plus innings, said he doesn’t care who’s behind the plate because Turner’s a threat any time he gets on. Manager Joe Maddon said the Cubs “let the wrong guys on base,” but his battery Tuesday night didn’t help.
“It’s an imperfect situation,” Maddon said. “It’s not about the move to first. It’s about time to the plate more than anything. He’s a little bit slow. … It’s something that he works on.”
Montero said he and Arrieta talked about it at spring training and nothing changes.
“It’s frustrating because it seems like nobody really care about it,” Montero said.
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