Yu Darvish is dealing on Thursday night, and Victor Caratini has played a role in that success
Darvish has arguably been the Cubs’ best pitcher so far this season, playing an absolutely vital role for the team as they look to build upon their early lead in the NL Central. In a 60-game season, every game up on division rivals is vital, which is why Chicago’s series against the Milwaukee Brewers is that important.
Yu and Victor Caratini, typically the backup catcher to Willson Contreras (who is the designated hitter on Thursday), have something special going, and the Puerto Rican backstop might have more of a role in that than you’d normally expect.
Caratini’s pitch framing is next-level, and deserves some sort of recognition
Darvish had a no-hitter through six innings, which is rather impressive given the Brewers’ lineup features a former MVP in Christian Yelich. Even without Ryan Braun, this isn’t a Triple-A team.
Pitch framing is often frowned upon, as by definition it’s deceiving umpires into mistaking balls for strikes. However, there’s far more to it than that. Part of Caratini’s art isn’t just to fool the umpire, but to make strikes “look better”, as all the best catchers will surely phrase it.
If anyone can appreciated Caratini’s abilities, it’s longtime MLB catcher and current Cubs manager David Ross, who has rewarded him with more playing time than many pundits expected this season. Knowing his boss, however, Caratini saw such a decision coming before the shortened campaign.
‘‘I feel I’ll have more opportunities on the field, and I’m happy I’ll have the opportunity to take more at-bats,’’ Caratini said through a translator. ‘‘Whether it’s as a DH or wherever, I think playing more, I’ll be able to show my abilities.’’
Why DH when you can win an Oscar for pitch framing?