The Chicago Cubs developed a reputation as having great clubhouse chemistry on their way to a World Series championship last year, but after their loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, those bonds appear to be strained.
After the game, in which the Nationals stole seven bases against Miguel Montero, the catcher blasted teammate Jake Arrieta for not holding runners on in the game, and said that even though the perception is that the catcher should be able to throw runners out, the pitcher didn’t do a good enough job of holding them closer to their bases.
“That’s the reason they were running left and right today, because they (Arrieta) were slow to the plate,” Montero said. “Simple as that. It’s a shame it’s my fault because I didn’t throw anyone out. It really sucked, because the stolen bases go on me. But when you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time, so yeah, ‘Miggy can’t throw anyone out,’ but my pitchers don’t hold anyone on.”
The seven stolen bases were a single-game record for the Nationals, and they pushed Montero’s record of throwing runners out to 0-for-31 so far this season.
On Wednesday morning, first baseman Anthony Rizzo fired back at Montero, calling the catcher “selfish” for his comments about Arrieta.
“When you point fingers, you’re a selfish player,” Rizzo told David Kaplan in an interview on ESPN 1000. “We have another catcher that throws everyone out.”
That catcher is Willson Contreras, who has thrown out 16 would-be base stealers this season. Contreras has turned heads throughout the league for his cannon arm and his ability to gun out runners even though he’s catching for Jon Lester, who has well-documented issues with holding runners on base.
Despite the in-fighting and public sniping, Rizzo emphasized a team-first attitude, and said that the Cubs need to win and lose as a team.
“This is all over TV last night, now I gotta talk about it today,” he said. “We win as 25, lose as 25. To call teammates out? What’s the point?”
The Cubs will be back on the field Wednesday night when they take on the Nationals in the third game of a four-game series in the nation’s capital.