Willson Contreras showcases defense, growth in catching first no-hitter
Lost in the shuffle of the first combined no-hitter in team history, was homegrown catcher, Willson Contreras, who caught his first no-hitter.
The 29-year-old didn’t realize that there was a no-hitter in process until the 6th inning. Once Contreras understood the magnitude, the pressure increased for him. After the 6th, Contreras tried to slow down and focus on just calling the game. The outing was a referendum on Contreras’ growth and improvement behind the plate.
“I think from 2016 until now how much I have matured in-game calling and behind the plate knowing all of the pitcher’s strengths and weaknesses — that’s something that I will take into an advantage to work ahead in the count and make good things happen,” Contreras said.
“I’m just proud. I have a lot of things, a lot going on in my mind right now, but as I said, this is what we worked for, what we studied for. Thanks to the scouting report guys, to make this possible, too.”
Contreras has put in the work over the years to improve his play behind the plate, and today was a showcase of that improvement. The pickoff of the Dodgers’ star outfielder, Mookie Betts in the 3rd inning, is another testament to Contreras’ improved defense.
“Willson’s great back there behind the plate,” Zach Davies said. “I think he knows that just because it’s a walk or a hit, whatever it is within the game, he’s confident in the pitcher that’s out there, he’s confident in the guy that is on the mound and calling pitches and being ready for whatever happens.”
Contreras knew the play was significant in keeping the Dodgers’ offense at bay.
“That was a great play made by me. Once I caught the ball, I saw Mookie flat-footed first, and I tried to make the throw as quick as I can, and it worked out,” Contreras said.
“When a play like that happens, you know you did the right thing, and your head is in the game. Mookie Betts is a great base runner. If he was on first, he probably steals one base, but I caught him before that,” Contreras said with a laugh.