If they go down swinging, the Arizona Diamondbacks are also going down stealing.
With a 9-0 win on Thursday, the D-backs completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets to win their fifth in six games. A performance of four stolen bases brought the series total to 13.
Arizona’s aggression on the basepaths tied for fourth-most by any team in any series since 1998.
It was only Sunday that D-backs manager Chip Hale half-jokingly lamented his power-hitting lineup options.
When asked about Arizona’s inning of five multi-base hits against the Brewers, the skipper said the heart of his lineup, mostly that of big bats, was unable to do the “fun stuff.” But elsewhere in the lineup that day, the Diamondbacks manager used speed to put pressure on Milwaukee before the big bats broke the game open.
From the bottom of the order through the first and second spots, the Diamondbacks have been using that to bother opposing pitchers and force catchers to be accurate with their throws to second base. The latter is apparently easier said than done.
The Mets didn’t overcome the pressure.
Even Arizona pitcher Braden Shipley got in on the base-stealing action Thursday.
The Diamondbacks have been aggressive all season long but still rank in MLB’s top-5 with a stolen base percentage of 77.
Contextually, the stolen base totals against the Mets aren’t surprising. New York has allowed 102 stolen bases on the season, the most in the majors. Thursday Mets starter Noah Syndergaard (36) and Tuesday starter Steven Matz (20) are No. 1 and No. 2 in MLB in stolen bases allowed.
Arizona certainly took advantage with at least four stolen bases in each game against the Mets. The 13 stolen bases, for what it’s worth, are one short of the 14 on the season from MLB’s worst base-stealing team, the Baltimore Orioles.
Now it’s a matter if the D-backs can continue with their heists against the Boston Red Sox, who have allowed just 43 stolen abases on the year, fourth-fewest in baseball.