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Tampa Bay Rays' baserunning miscues result of poor timing, decisionmaking

ARLINGTON, Texas — Manager Joe Maddon doesn't want the Rays to be any less aggressive on the bases. But with a major-league-most 55 caught stealings and a below-expectations success rate of only 69 percent, he does want them to be more selective.

"It comes down to picking a better spot," Maddon said. "You have to have the right guy at the right time with the right pitch."

Overall, the Rays have run into 94 outs on the bases, the fourth most of all teams, according to data through Wednesday's games from Baseball Info Solutions(see chart below).

That includes a major-league-high-matching 11 pickoffs, the 55 caught stealings, 12 doubled off and 16 thrown out trying to advance on a hit ball (they successfully advanced 112 bases).

"I like the idea that we're taking the extra base often and we're creating havoc out there, I'd just like us to make a better choice when we try to steal a base," Maddon said. "We do get picked off way too much; that's part of the learning equation."

Rays baserunners essentially have a constant "green light," with Maddon occasionally putting on a stop sign. He acknowledged Thursday that signs have been missed, leading to poorly timed outs, and that less experienced players have made "youthful mistakes." His goal is an 80 percent success rate on steals.

"There's times we have to talk to the guys about it afterward," he said, "but I don't want to take their aggressiveness away."

CATCHING ON: C Jose Lobaton will join the Rays today or Saturday, despite the final game of his left knee rehab being shortened by rain, and will get a chance to be in the lineup somewhat regularly. "He's going to play," Maddon said. "I want to see this. He's had a great year. … I've heard a lot of good stuff. So we need to find out there."

Lobaton, 26, hit .293 with eight homers, 31 RBIs and an .899 on-base plus slugging percentage in 54 games for Triple-A Durham before his July 15 promotion. He then sprained his knee in his third game.

PITCHING IN: RHP Kyle Farns­worth said "everything felt fine" with his previously tender elbow during his rough ninth Wednesday, that his issues were more a product of not having pitched in a week. "Just rusty," he said. … RHP Andy Sonnanstine will join the bullpen today but may not be available until Saturday.

GUYER READY: OF Brandon Guyer was thrilled to be back in the majors and excited that he will get to stay for more than one game as in his two previous stints. "Each time I come up I just get more comfortable," he said.

Maddon said Guyer, a right-handed hitter, will be in the lineup regularly against lefties and will get some opportunities against right-handers. The Rays like his skills, his athleticism to play all three outfield spots and his makeup.

"He works like he looks," Maddon said. "I love that about it. He's intense in a good way."

SHIELDS' FAN CLUB: RHP James Shields said he still doesn't consider himself a strikeout pitcher, despite reaching the 1,000 mark for his career Wednesday. He is within one of his first 200-strikeout season; his 199 rank fourth in the AL. "I feel like I'm just attacking the zone," he said.

MORE ON MOORE: LHP prospect Matt Moore was named the Southern League's outstanding pitcher and a postseason All-Star for going 8-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 18 starts for Montgomery before his promotion to Durham. C Stephen Vogt was also named an All-Star after hitting .301 with 13 homers and 85 RBIs.

MISCELLANY: SS Sean Rodriguez was hit by a pitch for the 13th time, one off Jonny Gomes' 2005 team record. … First-pitch temperature was 98 degrees, ending a streak of 15 games in Arlington of 100-plus. … With an expected arrival home after 3 a.m., the Rays aren't due at the Trop until 5 p.m. today and will skip batting practice.

Running themselves out

Team Adv. WP-PB Doubled Pickoffs CS Outs
Angels 33 0 19 5 42 99
Royals 24 0 11 11 51 97
D'backs 35 0 9 4 48 96
Rays 16 0 12 11 55 94
Reds 23 2 12 9 42 88
White Sox 22 0 19 4 41 86
Padres 24 0 13 11 35 83
Pirates 23 0 11 3 45 82
Braves 23 1 11 6 39 80
A's 23 1 12 4 38 78

Source: Baseball Info Solutions; through Wednesday

Baserunning outs include trying to advance on a batted ball, wild pitch, passed ball, sac fly, indifference, and being doubled off

Tampa Bay Rays' baserunning miscues result of poor timing, decisionmaking 09/01/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 2:47pm]
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