Angels' baserunning hasn't been what it used to be

The Angels, who traditionally are among baseball's most successful baserunning teams, entered Sunday with 25 total outs on the bases, the third-most in the league.

May 12, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna

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CHICAGO — Mike Trout was picked off first on a stolen-base attempt and thrown out at second in the third inning Saturday night.

Albert Pujols reached in the fifth when Chicago first baseman Adam Dunn dropped his popup in shallow right field, but Pujols overran first and was tagged out on Dunn's backdoor throw to pitcher Jose Quintana.

This has become an all-too-common occurrence for the Angels, who are traditionally among baseball's most aggressive and successful baserunning teams but have looked lost on the bases at times in 2013.

Through Saturday, the Angels made 14 outs on the bases and were caught stealing on 11 of 23 attempts, their 25 total outs on the bases the third-most in baseball behind Milwaukee (27) and Houston (26).

"Aggressive outs come with our philosophy of pushing the action," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "You're always going to have those ugly outs, and we've had some early on."

Losing speedy center fielder Peter Bourjos and shortstop Erick Aybar for large chunks of the season has hurt. Some outs, Scioscia said, have been the result of failed hit-and-run plays or players "forcing the action."

Pitchers have also done a better job of containing the Angels' running game with more slide-step deliveries. As a result, Scioscia has been more selective when picking spots to run.

"We really have to gauge the opportunities," he said. "As we do more things right and get more pieces in place, that aggressive baserunning will move forward. We've been a terrific baserunning team for a long time. Right now, it's not nearly the asset it can be."

Center of attention

Trout's agent said in spring training that Trout was "disappointed" with being moved to left field after playing Gold Glove-caliber defense in center in 2012.

Trout returned to center on April 30 after Bourjos suffered a left-hamstring strain, and in his next 11 games (through Saturday), Trout hit .356 with a .420 on-base percentage, .778 slugging percentage, four homers, three doubles, two triples and 13 runs batted in, raising his average from .252 to .283.


"I don't know," Trout said with an impish grin. "All I can tell you is I'm not swinging at balls I was swinging at earlier in the year, when I was chasing too much."

Trout did say that he is more comfortable in center.

"It's where I've played my whole life," he said. "Stuff just comes more naturally out there. There are a lot more things I worry about in left field. But wherever they put me, I'll play."

Short hops

Aybar, who missed the White Sox series because of right-hamstring tightness, will run the bases Monday and could return Monday night. … Barry Enright will pitch Wednesday against Kansas City, the right-hander's second start in place of Tommy Hanson, who is on the restricted list to deal with the aftermath of the death of his 24-year-old stepbrother. There is no timetable for Hanson's return.

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