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D-backs base running: aggressive or sloppy?

Since April 17 (the night Chris Young injured his right
shoulder against Pittsburgh), the Arizona Diamondbacks are
averaging
3.6 runs per game and hitting .246 as a team. Not
suprisingly, they’re 8-18 during that stretch.

When you’re a struggling offensive team, you can’t afford
to squander precious scoring opportunities.

The D-backs have done that — too many runners have been
thrown at home while trying to score from second base.

Since Kirk Gibson took over as the manager, the
Diamondbacks have consistently been an aggressive team on
the base paths. Last season, many an Arizona base runner
was cut down by an opposing fielder on a play at the
plate. It
was discussed, but when you’re winning a division title,
squandering runs at home is more of a nuisance than a real
issue.

That trend is continuing this year. The Diamondbacks have
had five runners thrown out at home in their first 36
games.

The fifth occurred Monday night. Rookie A.J. Pollock was
gunned down
by
Los Angeles center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. trying to
score
from second base on a Willie Bloomquist single in the
third inning. Pollock got a late jump, but was waved
around by third base coach Matt Williams, who then threw
up a late stop sign. Pollock was tagged out by catcher
A.J. Ellis for the second out of the inning. Aaron Hill
popped up to shortstop to end the inning.

The Diamondbacks lost the game, 3-1.

Instead of having runners on the corners with one out, the
Diamondbacks were over-agressive in trying to push a
precious run across the plate against reigning National Cy
Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.

Another interesting note: of the five runners thrown out
at the plate this season, only Pollock has any speed at
all. Lyle Overbay has been the victim of an outfield
assist twice, Jason Kubel and Miguel Montero once each.
That trio has combined for 28 stolen bases in 2,609 career
big league games.

So one could certainly ask the questions: is this a
classic case of a team’s aggressive nature coming back to
bite them? Is it Matt Williams failing to recognize the
lack of speed he has on the base paths? Or is it poor
base-running by the players themselves?

Diamondbacks thrown out at home this year

Jason Kubel thrown
out by Atlanta’s Martin Prado

Lyle Overbay thrown
out by Philadelphia’s John Mayberry

Miguel Montero
thrown out by St. Louis’ Matt Holliday

Lyle Overbay thrown
out by St. Louis’ Shane Robinson

A.J. Pollock thrown
out by Los Angeles’ Tony Gwynn Jr.

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