When Daniel Nava was caught stealing in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s close out win against the Tampa Bay Rays he ended a run of 45 consecutive successful stolen base attempts by the Boston Red Sox. Still, Boston’s speed had netted six swiped bases in the playoffs, more than any other team in the post season.
During the regular season Boston was number four in Major League Baseball (123) behind only Kansas City (153), Texas (149) and Milwaukee (142). Last time I checked none of those teams were in the playoffs. The bottom line; this is not your mama and daddy’s Red Sox. This team is built for speed.
The next closest playoff team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, placed 13th in the majors with 93 swipes. The other playoff contenders placed like this:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 78
Oakland Athletics – 74
Atlanta Braves – 64
St. Louis Cardinals – 45
Detroit Tigers – 35
Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia combined for 90 stolen bases during the regular season while eight Red Sox players chipped in for another 24 swipes (s0me of which are no longer with the team). This is not characteristic of decades of Red Sox slew foots. Indicative of manager John Farrell‘s new emphasis is late season acquisition Quintin Berry, this year’s answer to Dave Roberts. It gives Boston a lethal edge that they statistically have never had.
Speed kills. Here’s hoping it’s the key edge that put the Sox over the top.