Rockies know that to catch a thief, it takes a pick(off)
The Denver Post
TUCSON – It’s one thing to give up a stolen base now and again. But the Rockies were victims of a crime spree last season.
Only the Red Sox (90.4 percent) allowed opponents to swipe bases at a higher success rate than Colorado (85.2). For a team that harbors World Series dreams and is run by a detail-oriented manager, this is an embarrassing statistic that must be corrected.
“It’s not OK,” said Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells, who is responsible for helping control the running game. “We must have better awareness.”
Holding runners has been a point of emphasis this spring. In fact, before the games began, starter Aaron Cook was asked to address a group of pitchers on the topic. Cook is held as the example of how to prevent extra bases. He varies his times to the plate, employs a slide step that he has been using since he was 13 and isn’t afraid to throw to any base.
“I told the guys that you have to take it personal,” Cook said. “The runner is on base because of something we did. You can’t just forget about him.”
Neglect was part of the problem last season. But there was a confluence of factors that led opponents to run wild. Former starter Yorvit Torrealba never regained his arm strength after a 2006 shoulder injury. And Chris Iannetta struggled at times with his footwork, taking too many steps before throwing the ball.
The result? The opposition stole 115 bases in 135 attempts.
“The percentage by guys with average or below-average speed was way too high,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “They took advanta