For Ian Kinsler, instinct outweighs speed

Updated: October 22, 2011, 4:11 PM ET
By Buster Olney

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The base-stealing opportunities for the Rangers, Ron Washington told his players before the World Series began, would be dictated by the St. Louis pitchers. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina throws as well as anyone at his position, and if the pitcher on the mound delivers the ball quickly to home plate, well, forget it. Kyle Lohse, who starts for St. Louis tonight, has a streamlined delivery and releases the ball swiftly, and incredibly, there were only three stolen-base attempts against him all season.

But after Ian Kinsler led off the top of the ninth inning of Game 2 with a bloop single, there seemed to be an opportunity to run. Jason Motte had been nearly perfect in October, but as the Rangers discussed before the series began, Motte has a big leg kick in his delivery -- a common trait among closers. As Kinsler took his lead at first, he thought he might have a chance to break from first. "But with closers, you never really know until you're out there," he said Friday. "Sometimes you have to feel them out."

Kinsler's instinct is to run, to press the issue. "Kinsler's not the fastest guy out there," Rangers left fielder David Murphy said, "but his instincts are off the charts. And he's fearless. He can get picked off or thrown out stealing, and his mindset never changes."