Plenty of talk before and after today’s workout focused on the running game of those pesky Angels, who, in addition to their 148 steals this year (third in MLB) also happened to score 883 runs, second behind only the Yankees.
I mention this because the Angels have a reputation as these base-swiping, first-to-third devils who have outrun the Yankees all these years, most notably in their two ALDS series. But has anyone noticed their offense performed almost on par with the boys in pinstripes?
Now, can these Angels run? In 2009, yes. They stole 17 in 24 attempts against the Yankees this year. They were also thrown out more than any other club in baseball.
But back in 2002 and 2005, the Angels didn’t run with any special regularity to unseat the Yankees. In fact, over the years Mike Scioscia’s club has simply outslugged the Yanks, posting a better average, on-base percentage and home run rate in both of the much ballyhooed series. This season was no different despite the 5-5 record over 10 games. The Yankees hit more home runs (15 to 9) but reached base less often than their nemesis.
Anyway, I’ll have more in tomorrow’s paper on how Joe Girardi and his team plan on stalling the Angels running game. Expect a few more throws to first, the occasional pitch out and an outfield that has been prodded to charge base hits and limit runners from taking the extra base. That said, is it possible that Girardi and his catchers paid a little lip service to the running game today while internally focusing on what’s most important: Keeping the Angels off base? Hmm.
Here’s what Jorge Posada said today:
You have to get the hitter, that’s the main objective. The priority there is to get the hitter. You have to pay attention to the running game, but obviously the main priority is the hitter.