A better bullpen performance either Wednesday or Thursday against the Red Sox would have given the White Sox their third consecutive series victory at home, but instead they lost a 6-4 heartbreaker in 14 innings in the second game of the series and dropped a 3-1 decision in a pitchers' duel that marked the homestand's finale.
The White Sox's primary agenda this weekend would seem to be Jose Abreu and getting him out of his current doldrums. Manager Robin Ventura gave Abreu a breather Thursday by having on the bench to start the game against the Red Sox, but did give him a pinch-hit chance late.
After grounding out to end Thursday's game, Abreu now has just one hit in his last 22 at-bats (26 plate appearances).
Talking about it Thursday, Ventura says there is a mental aspect to the downturn as Abreu is coming to grips with the attention he received from his hot start and the realization that he must produce as the leader of the offense. But there is also the challenge of learning a new league where Abreu has admitted that the pitching is far superior.
While much improved at home, the 8-8 White Sox had their issues on their first road trip of the season at Kansas City and Colorado. They were just 2-4 on their maiden voyage and now head to Texas where the Rangers are a solid 7-3 at home.
At least there will be one less factor working against the White Sox this weekend as Arlington, Texas, is expected to have high temperatures in the 70s on Friday and Saturday, and over 80 degrees for Sunday's day game.
After their home stumble this week, the White Sox would like to build some momentum in Texas before heading to Detroit next week and showing the rival Tigers their new look.
HEAD TO HEAD
The Rangers' Prince Fielder is 4-for-8 lifetime against Felipe Paulino with two home runs, five RBIs and five walks. ... The Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo has two hits against Jose Quintana in five career at-bats, and both hits are doubles. ... Alexei Ramirez is 4-for-13 (.308) lifetime against Colby Lewis, but he has struck out five times. ... Players on the current White Sox roster have combined to go 2-for-14 against Rangers left-hander Robbie Ross, with no RBIs and no extra-base hits.
The White Sox will run into a pair of old friends in Texas in reliever Neal Cotts and outfielder Alex Rios. In a three-game series against the White Sox, shortly after his trade last year to the Rangers, Rios went 3-for-13 with a home run off Hector Santiago. ... Adam Dunn has 13 career home runs against the Rangers in 100 career at-bats, the most home runs vs. any opponent he's had 150 at-bats or less against. He has also reached base in 13 consecutive games this season. ... Dayan Viciedo has just three career hits at the Rangers' home ballpark and is a .136 hitter there in 22 at-bats. By contrast, Alexei Ramirez is a career .308 hitter there (28-for-96). ... Ramirez has a hit in all 16 games, the longest hit streak to start a season in White Sox history. ... Tyler Flowers has a hit in nine of his 13 games and has four multi-hit games this season after getting nine all of last season.
Friday: White Sox RH Felipe Paulino (0-1, 7.98 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Martin Perez (2-0, 2.70), 7:05 CT.
Saturday: White Sox LF Jose Quintana (1-0, 2.37). vs. Rangers RH Colby Lewis (0-1, 5.60), 7:05 CT.
Sunday: White Sox RH Erik Johnson (0-1, 6.35) vs. Rangers LH Robbie Ross (1-0, 1.00), 2:05 p.m. CT.
CHICAGO -- Feeling too modest about his skinny frame to do a postgame interview without his shirt on, Chris Sale’s shoulders are still broad enough to make him the foundation of the Chicago White Sox’s roster rebuild.
He had just shown why he is considered one of the best in the business Thursday with a one-hit gem over seven innings, soiled only by a high pitch count and that Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester was going toe-to-toe with him from the opposite side.
Lester eventually won the war of attrition and the Red Sox went on to a 3-1 victory by taking advantage of the White Sox's beleaguered bullpen.
Chris Sale tossed career-high 127 pitches in his duel with the Red Sox's Jon Lester. "It's hard to take him out of that when he's battled a pitcher like that," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Guys like him like to be in that game."
There, among the wood-paneled walls and thick padded seats, was the team’s brain trust that watched Sale approach 100 pitches after six innings ... then 110 ... then 120 ... and ultimately a career-high 127 by the time he finished seven innings, allowing just a run on one hit in the process.
It was a combination of tapping into Sale’s competitive nature as long as possible and avoiding a bullpen that has essentially been gasoline on some smoldering early-season fires.
But it also was a gigantic workload on an April evening that seemed riskier than it was worth in the big picture.
“Yeah, you know 115, 120 [pitches], you know he can do that,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Do you want to do it every night? No. But in a game like tonight, it’s hard to take him out of that when he’s battled a pitcher like that. Guys like him like to be in that game.”
Sale is more a task-at-hand guy, so his goal is to always finish what he started. He had zero qualms about the rising pitch total but also realized he had never climbed this high on the mountain.
“That’s what I’m supposed to do, especially after a night like last night,” Sale said, referring to the 14-inning outing Wednesday when the bullpen was taxed. “We had the house throwing multiple innings. You got to pick up some slack right there and do what you can.”
Sale turned 25 recently, so youth is certainly on his side. But the first answers as to how Thursday’s start might have affected him will come Tuesday at the Detroit Tigers when he next takes the mound. It isn’t out of the question that the effects linger on much longer.
But it doesn’t have to be so black-and-white, either, in which 100 pitches means an automatic end to your night. The coaching staff showed their trust, and that has value, as well.
“I felt that was a good move and a lot of respect from the staff to leave him in there,” White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. “He battled his butt off all game and we weren’t able to get too many runs for him. Kind of leave the game in his hands, and he did a great job.”
Flowers admitted, though, that Sale was at the end of his rope. He was mixing in more changeups late in the outing to preserve his pitching energy, but Sale ramped it up one last time for a strikeout of Ryan Roberts to end his night.
Asked about what seemed to be stall tactics in order to help him along in his last inning of work, Sale promised it was nothing to be alarmed about.
“I think it was more just trying to focus," he said. "I think it’s no secret that my emotions were running a little high. Just trying to dial it back a little bit and try to make my pitch. Getting that late in the game, that high pitch count, adrenaline kicks in and gets you through that. It wasn’t anything of getting tired or anything like that. It was just trying to compose myself and protect the pitches that I had.”
The White Sox might have fallen short, but Sale enjoyed the battle.
“That atmosphere tonight, it was great,” he said. “Obviously knowing who you got across the way, runs are going to be scarce. Going out there and giving everything you got, a team rolls in like this, you can’t really have any consternation with that. You can’t shy away from that.”
CHICAGO -- Jon Lester pitched eight sharp innings and David Ross hit a tiebreaking RBI double in Boston's two-run ninth, leading the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.
Lester (2-2) allowed one run and seven hits for his second straight win after opening the season with two losses. The left-hander struck out nine and walked none, winning an impressive pitcher's duel with White Sox ace Chris Sale.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox fell 3-1 to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, losing a home series for the first time this season.
How it happened: The White Sox’s Chris Sale and the Red Sox’s Jon Lester were locked in a pitchers’ duel. Sale lost his no-hitter in the seventh inning on a home run by Xander Bogaerts. Lester lost his perfect game on a Tyler Flowers single in the seventh and his shutout on a run-scoring infield single from Adam Eaton. Boston’s David Ross had the go-ahead RBI double in a two-run ninth inning. Ronald Belisario took the loss, the bullpen's major league leading sixth defeat this season. Alexei Ramirez had a ninth-inning single to give him a franchise-record 16-game hit streak to start the season. He shared the mark at 15 with Frank Thomas.
What it means: Sale threw a career-high 127 pitches, an alarmingly large number considering he is the foundation on which the organization is trying to rebuild itself. What that total indicates, more than anything, is that there is little trust in the scuffling bullpen that entered with an AL-leading 38 walks and a league-worst 6.38 ERA.
Outside the box: Sale struck out 10 batters, the 11th time in his young career he has reached double digits in that department. It tied him with Billy Pierce for the fifth-most double-digit strikeout games in White Sox history. Sale reached his mark in 63 starts, while Pierce needed 390 starts to do it.
Off beat: Faced with few options out of the bullpen Thursday because of heavy work in Wednesday’s 14-inning game, Belisario had an extended outing that ultimately got away from him. The right-hander threw 32 pitches in his 1⅓ innings of work and added two more walks to give the bullpen a whopping 41 already this season.
Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Felipe Paulino (0-1, 7.98 ERA) to the mound Friday against the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series. Texas will counter with left-hander Martin Perez (2-0, 2.70) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Globe Life Park.
After Wednesday's 14-inning, 5-hour 17-minute affair against the Boston Red Sox, manager Robin Ventura didn't require his players to arrive until 5 p.m. Fresh from the airport, Putnam practically had the place to himself for a little while.
The marathon game Wednesday was the reason bullpen help was needed. Daniel Webb threw 59 pitches Wednesday and was not available Thursday. Donnie Veal, who has struggled with his control so far, is now out of the picture after being designated for assignment.
Putnam, who got the call in the middle of the night that he would be heading to Chicago, is prepared to play quickly.
"I'm ready to go," said Putnam, who last pitched for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday. "Nobody has said anything, but I'm ready to go and for as many [innings] as they need. I know they're taxed, so I'm going to try to give them whatever I can."
Having been called up for short stints with three different teams over the past three years, Putnam knows what to expect. But he remains relatively inexperienced with only 15 major league appearances and 12T innings to his credit.
In 2011, he pitched in eight games with the Cleveland Indians, a year later it was two games with the Colorado Rockies and last year he made five appearances with the Chicago Cubs.
In a White Sox bullpen struggling with control (38 walks to lead the American League), Putnam knows that this major-league stint can be longer if he can find the stroke zone.
"As a pitcher, it doesn't matter what your role is, trying to throw strikes, get ahead in the count is Step 1 to success, so that's going to be what I'll try to do tonight, or when I get in there," he said.
The bullpen appeared to take a turn for the better with a solid showing in a victory Tuesday, but neither Ronald Belisario nor Matt Lindstrom pitched that night. Every reliever pitched Wednesday, including utility man Leury Garcia, and the bullpen had 11 walks (nine not counting Garcia's numbers).
"After [Tuesday] night, you thought it was getting back on track," Ventura said. "If you judged it on last night you wouldn't be happy about it. I wouldn't see it like that every night. They're going to grind. You look at the guys who are out there and eventually they will get the job done."
Paul Konerko had been expected to get a start in Thursday’s homestand finale against the Boston Red Sox, but, instead of taking the place of Adam Dunn in the DH spot, Konerko will get to play first base for the first time this season in place of Abreu.
It will be just the second start for Konerko, who was the DH at the Kansas City Royals last week.
Abreu is mired in a 1-for-21 slump as he struggles to hit major league breaking pitches. After a hot start, during which Abreu hit four home runs, batted .300 and carried a .725 slugging percentage through 10 games, pitchers have started to expose weaknesses.
"You might be tired. You’re seeing new [pitchers], and they might be getting a report. But you go back in the cage, work on it," Ventura said. "The hardest part of all this is that baseball is relentless. It's every day of being able to gear back up and, when you’re not feeling quite right, to be able to go out and perform.
"He’s got certain pressures on him that probably other guys don’t have, so today’s a good day to just give him a day."
The White Sox open a three-game series at the Texas Rangers on Friday, and, while the pitching won’t relent, perhaps Abreu will benefit from a warmer climate.
Abreu’s batting average is down to .217, while his on-base percentage is at .324. He still has a .500 slugging percentage, tops among American League every-day first basemen.
"He has a lot going on and has been adjusting to different things," Ventura said. "This is the right time to give him a day as we go out on the road. You give him the day and a breather and let him get back at it."
Konerko is also learning to adjust as he comes off the bench now. Six of his nine at-bats came as a pinch hitter, and the only hit he has collected all season came on the first pitch he saw.
"In almost every game we've had, I've been on the verge of hitting, on the verge of getting in the game," Konerko said. "So you're prepared from about the fifth inning on. I'd say the first three or four innings feel like a normal off day, but from about the fifth inning through the rest of the game, you're paying attention to everything. Every guy that gets up in the bullpen, every pitch that's thrown, every score, you're really paying attention.
"My switch is never really off. Physically, yeah, sure, there's always something there, but you just do the work, prepare and you try to be ready. It's different, but there are people that are good at it and accomplish it, so you have to think that it's possible."
CHICAGO -- After sitting out one game with a dislocated ring finger on his left hand, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is back in the starting lineup, batting cleanup against White Sox ace Chris Sale.
The Red Sox can use Napoli's bat. They're hitting a collective .173 (36 for 208) while losing four of the first six games on this trip and have scored just 18 runs. Six of those runs came Wednesday night, when White Sox pitchers walked 15 batters but stranded 16 runners on base before Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run double off a position player, utilityman Leury Garcia, in the 14th to give the Red Sox a 6-4 win.
This will be the first time the Red Sox will be facing Sale, a two-time All-Star as a starter. The last time he pitched against them was in relief in 2011, and the Red Sox collectively have just three hits in 25 at-bats against him. No Red Sox player has more than one hit off him, and Jonny Gomes has the only home run. Napoli is 1-for-6 against him in his career. Sale has never faced Bradley, Dustin Pedroia, David Ross or Xander Bogaerts.
Putnam, 26, has 15 games of major league experience, most recently the five games he pitched in relief for the Chicago Cubs last season. In six relief innings at Charlotte this season he had 11 strikeouts.
Veal made seven relief appearances for the White Sox this season, posting a 7.50 ERA. He walked seven batters in just six innings.
The White Sox will need to pick up innings for right-hander Daniel Webb, who could be down for as many as two games after throwing 59 pitches over three innings in Wednesday's defeat to the Boston Red Sox.
Jose Abreu is 1-for-21 since his home run against the Indians a week ago.
It was not unexpected that he would have struggles as he transitions to a new league, it’s just that his hot start and disciplined approach at the plate seemed to get everybody used to the idea that he would be able to handle himself just fine in the majors.
Wednesday’s 0-for-6 performance, though, means that Abreu is 1-for-21 since hitting a home run in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. That homer was Abreu’s second of the game.
Looking back, there were warning signs that he wasn’t quite right at the plate. The night after his two-homer game he struck out twice against the Indians and three more times the following night.
So, yes, just another day of baseball. Quick thoughts ...
- The Red Sox beat the White Sox 6-4, scoring twice in the 14th inning off infielder Leury Garcia. I'd say the 14th inning is a little early to run out of relievers, especially when your starter goes six innings. The White Sox were nursing a 4-2 lead in the eighth, but manager Robin Ventura burned through four relievers in getting just three outs as Boston scored once in the eighth and once in the ninth. Ventura was trying to match up and brought in lefties Scott Downs and Donnie Veal to face one batter, which led to a thin bullpen in extra innings. Rather than try to get a fourth inning out of Daniel Webb (who had thrown 59 pitches) or use a starter in relief, Ventura used Garcia. The White Sox bullpen has an MLB-worst 6.38 ERA and the bullpen walked 11 batters in this game. It was a concern heading into the season, and Doug Padilla writes that changes could be in order.
- Julio Teheran continues to impress despite low strikeout totals. He beat Lee 1-0 with a three-hit shutout with just four strikeouts. Teheran threw 23 changeups (22 to left-handers), after having thrown only 15 in his first three starts. It worked as the Phillies went 0-for-6 against it. Teheran has only 13 strikeouts in 28 innings, but has allowed only four extra-base hits and walked six. The impressive thing about Wednesday's effort was going back out there in the ninth with a 1-0 lead. With Craig Kimbrel still day to day with a sore shoulder, Fredi Gonzalez even left Teheran in to face Chase Utley after Jimmy Rollins had singled (and stole second with two outs). Utley grounded a 3-1 sinker to second, Teheran's 115th pitch. Compare that to Lloyd McClendon, who pulled Hernandez in the eighth inning after 96 pitches and saw his bullpen and defense lose it in the ninth.
- It's only three starts, but Masahiro Tanaka looks like a No. 1 to me. OK, it was the Cubs. And the Cubs can't hit (Michael Pineda & Co. shut them out in the nightcap). Still, that splitter is a wipeout pitch. Maybe hitters will learn to lay off it, but as Hisashi Iwakuma and Koji Uehara showed last season, hitters can't lay off it, even when they know it's coming. Tanaka has 28 strikeouts through three starts. Since 1900, only Stephen Strasburg and J.R. Richard had more strikeouts in their first three career starts.
- Johnny Cueto had a brilliant three-hit, 12-strikeout shutout for the Reds over the Pirates, giving Cincinnati its first series win of 2014. Keep an eye on Pirates left fielder Starling Marte, however. Clint Hurdle didn't start him as he had struck out three times in each of the previous two games and now has 24 in 68 plate appearances (35 percent strikeout rate). He's hitting .250/.338/.383, but all the K's are becoming a concern. The Pirates need him to be more than just a great defensive left fielder; they need him to hit or this offense is really going to struggle to score runs.
- Jose Fernandez, after getting roughed up and struggling with his command in his last start, was cruising along into the sixth inning against the Nationals with a 3-0 lead, having allowed only one hit with six punchouts. Jose Lobaton led off with a double and then Jarrod Saltalamacchia made a terrible play with pitcher Tanner Roark bunting. The bunt was short and in front of the plate and while Salty had a possible play at third, with a 3-0 lead you just take the out at first. He threw wildly and everyone was safe. After a strikeout and infield pop out, Fernandez should have been out of the inning. Instead, Jayson Werth did this, lining an 0-1 fastball down the middle just over the fence in right-center (the review confirmed it was a home run). Fernandez ended up with 10 K's in seven innings, but the Nationals won it with three in the eighth.
- Big win for the Angels to avoid a sweep to the A's. A night after tying it in the ninth but losing in extra innings, the Angels again tied it in the bottom of the ninth and this time won in extra innings, on Chris Iannetta's 12th-inning walk-off homer against Drew Pomeranz. Mike Trout, who homered Tuesday to tie it, got the tying rally started with a base hit. Losing leads in the ninth is always wrenching, but especially so against a division rival. The Mariners lost to the Rangers in similar fashion (Jeff Sullivan writes it as only a Mariners fan can: Baseball's back).
- Buster Olney wrote on George Springer's major league debut for the Astros. Springer went 1-for-5 with a dribbler for a base hit, a walk and two strikeouts in the Astros' 6-4 loss to the Royals in 11 innings. He also got picked off (one of two Astros to get picked off). The Royals won despite making four errors. Some game there. The Astros, by the way, are hitting .189.
- Injury watch: Cardinals starter Joe Kelly is likely headed to the DL after pulling his hamstring trying to beat out an infield hit; Hanley Ramirez left the game after getting hit on his hand, but X-rays were negative and he's day-to-day; Kole Calhoun is out 4-6 weeks for the Angels after spraining a ligament in his ankle (J.B. Shuck hit leadoff in his place last night).
Over 14 often eye-covering innings Wednesday night, the White Sox were finally their own worst enemy in a 6-4 defeat to the Boston Red Sox.
White Sox pitchers walked 15 batters and struck out just five, becoming the first team to walk that many and strike out that few since the Toronto Blue Jays did it in a 2002 game against the Seattle Mariners.
"We just, for one reason or another, we didn’t seem to throw it over [the plate]," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "So, you know, a game that if you are going to give them that many opportunities, you are little surprised you are in it that late into the game."
When it was finished, utility infielder Leury Garcia took the loss. He had never pitched in a game before Wednesday, but he quickly followed the lead of the pitching staff by walking two batters, who came around to score and were the difference in the defeat.
Garcia could be excused for his control issues. The seven regular relievers to appear in the game walked a combined nine batters in seven innings. Daniel Webb walked three, but he looked worn down after three innings and a whopping 59 pitches.
It didn’t help that Ventura used four pitchers in the eighth inning alone, and with Lindstrom available, he let Maikel Cleto start the ninth inning with the White Sox clinging to a one-run lead. Cleto walked the first two batters before Lindstrom was called into the game.
Lindstrom ended up with the blown save when the tying run scored, but it was amazing he limited the damage to what it was. It was his third blown save on the young season, but in this one, there were actually positives.
"I could kind of see how they wouldn’t be confident in me in that situation, but I was feeling good," Lindstrom said. "I felt like I was ready and did my normal routine to get ready to go out there in the ninth. It was a tough loss. Our guys battled their [tails] off today."
The bullpen issues Wednesday came as no surprise. The White Sox entered the game with a 6.81 ERA over their past 13 games, and their 27 walks before Wednesday were last in the American League. They easily padded that total in the defeat.
So when the relievers gather in the bullpen for Thursday’s game against the Red Sox, Lindstrom said it will be time for a heart-to-heart.
"I think tomorrow, as a bullpen we can sit out there and talk a little about making sure we stay aggressive with our stuff in the zone, because we’ve got a pretty good defense behind us, too," Lindstrom said. “We need to realize that. It’s tough to hit, especially when it’s cold.
"As long as we can make sure we understand we have a good defense behind us and attack the zone, it’s going to be tough to hit. I found that myself a little tonight. I attacked the zone a little bit better with my sinker, and I got outs even when I wasn’t trying to do too much with it."
Who will be on hand for that meeting remains to be seen. After a hard work day, the White Sox could end up recalling a pitcher from the minor leagues. That would also mean somebody would be on their way out.
"I have full confidence in those guys," said starter John Danks, who walked four batters of his own. "I wish I could have gone deeper and saved those guys a little bit, but I have full confidence in those guys, and I believe, truly, whenever I come out of the game that it’s going to happen. Even the best bullpens in the league lose a lead like that. It’s part of it. There are 162 games, and it happens."
CHICAGO -- Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run double off Chicago infielder Leury Garcia in the top of the 14th inning and the Boston Red Sox outlasted the White Sox 6-4 in a game that lasted 5 hours and 17 minutes Wednesday night.
With the score tied at 4 after 13 innings, the White Sox ran out of pitchers after Daniel Webb threw 59 pitches in three innings, so manager Robin Ventura turned to Garcia (0-1) to start the 14th. Garcia is the first White Sox position player to take the mound since Casper Wells pitched a scoreless inning last June.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox couldn’t hold a late lead Wednesday and lost 6-4 in 14 innings to the Boston Red Sox.
How it happened: With White Sox utility infielder Leury Garcia on the mound in the 14th inning, the Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run double for the go-ahead run and another for insurance. White Sox pitchers walked 15 batters and hit two more with pitches. The Red Sox used sacrifice flies in the eighth and ninth to force extra innings and another in the 11th to take a brief lead. But Tyler Flowers had an RBI single to keep the contest going. Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning. White Sox starter John Danks walked four but limited the Red Sox to one run on three hits over six innings. Rookie catcher Adrian Nieto, who had never played above the Class A level before this season, had two singles for his first multihit game.
What it means: The bullpen issues continued as relievers were responsible for 11 of the 15 walks. The only thing keeping the White Sox in the game so long was that the Red Sox had only three hits from the seventh to the 13th inning. Daniel Webb worked the longest, throwing 59 pitches. Bullpen strategy didn’t help things as manager Robin Ventura used four pitchers -- Scott Downs, Jake Petricka, Donnie Veal and Maikel Cleto -- in the eighth inning. Instead of using struggling closer Matt Lindstrom to start the ninth inning with the lead, Ventura let Cleto start the inning, and he walked the first two batters. Lindstrom came on to allow just one run but got a blown save in the process.
Outside the box: While guys like Ramirez, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu have gotten most of the attention for the White Sox’s offensive turnaround, Adam Dunn has quietly gotten off to his own solid start. The left-handed slugger, who is expected to sit Thursday to give Paul Konerko a start as the DH, has five walks in his past two games and is carrying a .553 slugging percentage average after 15 games. He entered the game leading the AL in on-base percentage at .468.
Off beat: There were 504 pitches in a game that lasted 5 hours, 17 minutes.
Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Chris Sale (3-0, 2.66 ERA) to the mound Thursday against the Red Sox in the series finale. Boston will counter with left-hander Jon Lester (1-2, 2.57) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.
A check of the early numbers showed the White Sox's nine steals were tied for third most in the American League before play Wednesday, while their 82 percent success rate was sixth best among AL teams that had tried at least four stolen-base attempts.
Yet despite an impressive .418 OBP, speedy leadoff man Adam Eaton has only one steal in two attempts. Even more amazing is that his successful steal was of third base, not second. Alexei Ramirez, Leury Garcia and Marcus Semien all have more steals than Eaton.
Manager Robin Ventura was asked if steal numbers are lower than expected because the productive offense hasn't needed that part of its game yet.
"Well, you give guys an opportunity to swing the bat if they're swinging it good," Ventura said. "And we're not going to steal certain guys that aren't really base-stealers. So the guys that can steal, they're going to get a chance to go ahead and go, but guys that aren't your natural base steals aren't going to be going."