Brett Gardner was last caught stealing a base on June 18 in Chicago. He’s since gone a perfect 12-for-12, including three stolen bases the past two days in Toronto. This was shaping up to be the worst base-running season of his career, but Gardner’s turned everything around: He’s getting on base again, running again, and stealing bags again.
“I think he’s been more aggressive actually, and I think that’s been the difference,” Joe Girardi said. “Base stealing, you’re going to get thrown out, that’s the bottom line. There are times that everything is going to click: The pitcher’s going to quick to home, the catcher makes a perfect throw, it’s a perfect exchange and a perfect tag and you’re going to be out, but that can’t take away from your aggressiveness.”
In recent years, the Yankees have gone into series against Tampa Bay looking like a bunch of slow, plodding old men compared to the Rays group of young athletes. This year, it’s kind of the opposite.
Tonight, the Yankees will open a four-game series at The Trop having more stolen bases than the Rays, more triples than the Rays, and having been caught stealing fewer times than the Rays. With Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez in the regular lineup, the Yankees can run a little bit. Even Russell Martin has bought some aggressive base running to the lineup, and Derek Jeter’s stolen eight bases.
“I wouldn’t say worrying about getting caught gets you thrown out,” Gardner said. “But worrying about getting caught makes you a little more passive and you don’t go as often. Just be aggressive… Some guys that I’ve run on have been pretty quick to the plate, (and) a little bit of it has to do with luck, probably. In the first inning (Sunday), he was really quick to the plate but I ran on a good pitch to run. Other times, I’m just being more aggressive and not worrying about being caught.”
Associated Press photo