Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Rangers can't run their way to another win
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Much will be made of the Texas Rangers' aggressive baserunning this season -- the pros and cons of it -- a style they've prided themselves on for all seven seasons Ron Washington has been the club's manager.
Monday night will not be a good memory.
The Rangers were picked off twice in the first three innings by David Price and lost 5-2 in the American League wild-card tiebreaker game. It brought the Rangers' season total to 111 outs given up on the bases.
Elvis Andrus was picked off first base in the first inning after a one-out walk when he scrambled back to first base on Price's throw over but had his hand blocked from the bag by first baseman James Loney's foot.
Ian Kinsler was also caught stealing when Price picked him off first base. Kinsler ended the inning by making an out in a rundown.
Ian Kinsler did not credit David Price's pickoff move for the two critical outs the Rangers made on the bases.
"Elvis got blocked by Loney," Kinsler said of Andrus' first-inning mistake. "It was 0-2 on [Alex] Rios [when Kinsler was picked off in the third inning], so I was going to try to take the bag there and either let Rios drive me in or let him start the next inning off. And I got caught. It was early in the game, and I was trying to take a chance there.
"Those two plays weren't [Price's pickoff] move. They were circumstances of the game."
This doesn't mean this should be open season on the Rangers' running game. There's no way they would have gotten to Game 163 without their ability to turn singles into doubles by the stolen base. Or scoring key runs from second base on infield hits.
The Rangers had six players with at least 15 stolen bases, and both Rios (42 steals) and Andrus (41) could be potential 50-steal guys next season.
The Rangers went on a seven-game tear to end the season just to get into Monday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Without the power threat of the past, they had to stay aggressive on the bases.
It just worked against them for the first time in a week.
"That's the way we play," Washington said. "Sometimes, that's the result of it, but if everything would have worked the way we wanted it to when they decided to steal, it would have been nice. It just didn't work that way. That's what you have to put up with when you are aggressive. We're a very aggressive team, and we never stop."