Sunday, May 11, 2014
Stolen base success rate alarmingly low
By Travis L. Brown, Special to ESPNBoston.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday if his team’s success rate at stealing bases doesn’t improve soon, the whole operation might be cut.
“The efficiency rate is alarming, almost to the point of saying, well, we need to shut down our running game unless it is determined by us that we can be 100 percent sure or more than 50 percent sure of success,” Farrell said.
Entering Sunday’s game against the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox sit at 50 percent in stealing efficiency, swiping an AL-worst 11 bags on the season. Their 11 foiled attempts leave them tied for fourth most in the majors.
Part of the problem can be directed at personnel changes as former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury led the 2013 team in steals with 52 and was caught only four times.
This season, the Sox are led by Jackie Bradley Jr. with three stolen bases, but in only his second year in the majors, there is still much to be learned.
“We also have some situations where there’s someone inexperienced on the base paths at this level,” Farrell said.
He said he strives for his team to be around 75 percent in stealing to feel comfortable.
* Right fielder Shane Victorino was one of Saturday night’s stars, going 3-for-4 with a season-high four RBIs, but it was one of his defensive plays that Farrell called the highlight of his night.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus lined a shot down the right-field line that easily could have been a double for Texas’ two-hole hitter. Victorino got on his horse, cutting off the ball and holding Andrus to a single.
It allowed for the Red Sox infield to turn a double play on the next batter.
“That’s an example that we see,” Farrell said. “When someone looks at Vic’s game last night, they see the RBIs and base hits; to me the play in the right field corner is equal to all he did at the plate.”
Victorino agreed, saying that was one of his best plays of the night.
“It’s always been my belief if you do the little things in the game, eventually, over a period of time, that little stuff that you do is going to come back for you,” he said.
* John Lackey is making his 20th start at Globe Life Park in Arlington Sunday, breaking a tie with Seattle’s Felix Hernandez for most starts all-time by an opponent. Lackey, who has an offseason home in Fort Worth and is a former University of Texas at Arlington player, is .500 in Arlington with a 7-7 record.
On Sunday, he showed off a little of his Texas heritage by rolling into the clubhouse sporting a cowboy hat and boots.