To look at the A’s stolen base numbers – they had been successful on 19 of 21 steal tries entering Saturday – you’d think the Oakland running game is a fine-tuned machine.
It’s not. Stolen bases, while important, are only part of the base running package. And the rest of the package isn’t much to look at.
Twenty nine games in to the season, the A’s have made more than a half dozen outs running the bases. The latest came Friday when with men on first and second, Yoenis Cespedes hit a bullet to deep center. Josh Donaldson was already around second base when the ball was caught by Jackie Bradley Jr., and a great relay flip from Dustin Pedroia beat Donaldson back to first base.
“We keep doing it,’’ first base coach Tye Waller said Saturday. “We keep working on it, but we keep doing it.’’
Manager Bob Melvin talked to Donaldson about the play. The A’s were down 6-1 at the time en route to a 7-1 loss. It’s not like Donaldson was going to tie the game if he scored.
“We haven’t been very good base-running wise, no question,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “There is over-aggressiveness at times on our part, running with your head down. There is no reason to be aggressive in that situation. And he knows that, and it’s been addressed.’’
This road trip has seen the A’s running out of control at times. Monday in Arlington, Texas, Brandon Moss was picked off first base by Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos in the third inning and Josh Reddick was doubled off first base in the eighth. Texas’ center fielder Leonys Martin made a terrific catch with the A’s up 4-0 and Reddick, running with the pitch, had insufficient time to retreat.
“That’s the kind of thing we’ve done too much of,’’ Waller said. “When the play is in front of you like that, you have to make sure the ball isn’t caught. We can’t be getting doubled off like that.
“We’re constantly talking about it, keeping them aware. We’re going to get better. We can’t keep making these kinds of mistakes. We’ve been winning despite it, but you can’t keep doing that over six months without it catching up to you.’’