Friday, September 30, 2011
Unlike year ago, Rays wary of baserunners
By Jeff Caplan
ARLINGTON, Texas -- By the time the Texas Rangers reached the ALDS a year ago they knew how deadly their aggressiveness on the base paths could be against unsuspecting foes. What surprised then was that there were still unsuspecting foes after a season's worth of calculated risk-taking.
"It was funny that it had to happen in the postseason for people to notice because we did it all season," said second baseman Ian Kinsler, a second-time member of the 30-30 club. "We've been doing it all year this year as well and we expect to do the same in the playoffs. That's our style of baseball. I think everyone in the league understands that and they're probably going to do their best to slow us down."
Recall ALDS Game 5 against these same Tampa Bay Rays. Twice Rangers base runners scored from second base on ground balls that didn't leave the infield. Throughout the series, the Rangers' penchant for always seeking the extra base and forcing the defense to stay alert and make a play paid off and frustrated the Rays, who typically like to play in similar fashion.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria on Thursday acknowledged that this time around they won't be caught sleeping with Rangers on the base paths.
"Last year I think from a preparedness standpoint we were a little under-prepared for that aspect of it. I mean, they really kind of ran us into the; they beat us at our own game," Longoria said. "That's something that, obviously we know that coming into this year and we're going to make adjustments to not get beat that way."