Red Sox Base Running Aggressiveness Has Cost Them A Ton Of Outs
The Boston Red Sox fell to the New York Yankees on Friday night in the Bronx. The final score was 5-4, but at one point, Boston had a 3-0 lead.
John Farrell‘s team got a solid start from Eduardo Rodriguez who tossed 6 scoreless innings handing it to the bullpen for the final 3 innings. But after a bullpen meltdown in the 8th inning, the Red Sox found themselves down 5-3 in the top of the 9th.
Despite New York bringing in Aroldis Chapman, Boston’s offense was given the chance to be right back in it. To open the 9th inning Chapman walked 3 straight batters. Things were looking up for Boston, Andrew Benintendi smacked a fly ball out to deep right field that allowed Jackie Bradley Jr. to tag up and make it a one run game.
Unfortunately for Boston though, something else happened on that play. Eduardo Nunez tagged up trying to move over to third base but he was a doubled up on a gem of a throw from Aaron Hicks. Base-running aggressiveness is nothing new this season for the Red Sox. This has been an aggressive team on the base pads. But there is a difference between being aggressive and smart. Nunez is an above average base runner, as he noted post-game, the fielder would have to throw a strike.
But the fielder is Hicks, a player who has an above average arm and is wildly known to have a cannon at nailing runners. On this particular play, the ball was directly ahead of the fielder putting him in a good position to throw the ball towards third base.
Every time a player has gotten thrown out this season, the answer has almost always been the same from the clubhouse, they are unapologetic about taking the risk.
But on Friday night, with arguably the most important game of the season, was the risk worth it? Nunez is a fast baserunner, he was in scoring position at second base, a single in theory scores him in a lot of instances.
Yes if it succeeds you are standing 90 feet away with 1 out in the inning, but on the flip side if it fails, you still only have a runner at second, and two outs in the inning. At some point, the Boston Red Sox have to tone it down and run smarter on the base pads.
At the moment they have made 64 outs on the bases so far this MLB season, that is 15 more than any other team in baseball and one less than they had all of last season. Seeing this team being aggressive is refreshing at times, but as the numbers show, it hasn’t worked out in their favor as a whole.