Thursday, June 16, 2011

Think fast

The third of Michael Cuddyer's three steals on Wednesday
against the battery of Gavin Floyd and A.J. Pierzynski.
The Twins stole five bases Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox -- three by that noted speedster Michael Cuddyer, one each from Alexi Casilla and Ben Revere.

This came hours after the Chisox held a lengthy tutorial on cutting off the running game. 

A.J. Pierzynski's take on the track meet: 

We all know where we stand with the running game when Gavin (Floyd) is out there. Everyone knows where we stand, and it’s just part of the game.

The numbers for the Sox are rather grotesque, and Pierzynski, as the regular catcher, is taking heat for it. According to the above link, Chicago opponents are 61 for 75 in steal attempts -- and eight of the caught stealings are the result of pickoffs. 

I don't know that it's all Pierzynski's fault, although throwing is not the strongest part of his game. The opposition is 15 for 15 against Floyd, 14 for 15 against Edwin Jackson, 5 for 6 against former Twin Philip Humber, 3 for 4 against Jake Peavy (now on the disabled list). That's 37 for 40 against Chicago's four right-handed starters.

But don't look for the Twins to run wild this afternoon. Mark Buerhle is slated to start today, and nobody runs on him. (Seven attempts, two successes, five caught stealings.) Buehrle -- and the Sox' other southpaw starter, John Danks (5 for 10) -- can make even Pierzynski look good.


Regarding Cuddyer's steals:

The first came on the back end of a double steal, with Casilla taking third on the play. Cuddyer deserves credit anyway, since he was the guy Pierzynski threw for.

The other two came on breaking balls in the dirt -- pitches difficult enough to catch cleanly, much less get off a throw afterwards. Selecting those specific pitches on which to send Cuddyer wasn't luck but acumen.

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