Stranded: Why didn’t Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll steal a base vs. Phillies?

Oct 17, 2023, 10:35 PM | Updated: 11:13 pm

Game 2 of the National League Championship Series started inauspiciously similar to Game 1 for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Corbin Carroll got on base — Game 1 it was a single to right, Game 2 it was a fielding error by Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner — and he proceeded to watch the the Philadelphia starter retire the next three batters from first.

In neither game did the team’s leadoff hitter attempt to steal second base.

What happened in the bottom of the first, while different, was effectively the same — the Phillies jumped on the Arizona starter and the D-backs would never catch back up.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was asked after the game why Carroll — one of the league’s leading base stealers with 54 in 2023 — didn’t attempt to steal second.

“(Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola) was slide-stepping every pitch to keep him there,” Lovullo said after the 10-0 loss in Game 2. “I didn’t want to run into an out. I want to be aggressive. It’s definitely in our DNA, and we know how to do it.

“But (Nola) was slide-stepping the majority of the time. We felt like when he does that, his stuff ticks down a little bit, but he was making quality pitches. We were looking to take advantage of it from an offensive standpoint, knowing when we had somebody standing at first base, if it does tick down, that we can potentially get back into that slugging mentality, but we did not.”

In the top of the first, Nola went on to strike out Ketel Marte and Tommy Pham and got Christian Walker to pop out to second base. Nola struck out Marte on three pitches, Pham on four and induced the pop out on three. All said and done: three outs, 10 pitches, eight strikes.

“In my eyes and in the eyes of the coaches, didn’t seem like much opportunity to run,” Carroll said after the game.

It was the only time Carroll reached base in Game 2.

In the 35 times he found himself on either first or second base in the first inning this season, he only stole seven bases. His steals tend to come between the seventh and ninth inning, when he swiped 25 of his 54 bags and was only caught once.

“We didn’t want to run into an early out,” Lovullo told reporters after Game 1. “Clearly I don’t think Corbin was feeling 100% comfortable and (Phillies starting pitcher Zack) Wheeler did a good job. He was mixing up his looks: set-go, set-set-go. Whatever it was, he did a really nice job getting the ball to the catcher.”

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Stranded: Why didn’t Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll steal a base vs. Phillies?