Dodgers @ Padres Sept. 5, 2015: Running game has improved

The Dodgers are a season-best 7 1/2 games ahead in the division. Things are going well, but it isn’t just the pitching the and homers.

Dodgers
Padres
5:40 p.m.
San Diego
SS
Rollins
3B
Solarte
2B
Utley
2B
Gyorko
1B
Gonzalez
LF
Upton
3B
Turner
RF
Kemp
RF
Ethier
1B
Norris
LF
Crawford
CF
Myers
C
Grandal
C
Hedges
CF
Pederson
SS
Barmes
P
Wood (L)
P
Ross (R)

The Dodgers are stealing bases. While they’re still last in the majors in Base Runs (-17.1), they’re no longer last in stolen bases — they’re 28th with 44 (the Angels have 41 and the Orioles have 37). Much of this has in August and now September. They stole the 7th-most bases in August with 18 and second this month behind the Diamondbacks with five.

Some of this has to do with Carl Crawford. He stole six bases last month. Jose Peraza had three in four games and would almost certainly have more if he weren’t nursing a sore hamstring. Jimmy Rollins has a team-leading 11 steals. The Dodgers do have more speed now than they did earlier in the season, but they’re by no means a base-stealing team. It was really surprising to see Scott Schebler swipe a couple bases last night. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he is a smart base runner. Having a guy like Chase Utley around can only make that better.

They’re facing the Padres tonight, a team that has allowed 100 stolen bases — 3rd-worst in the majors. Derek Norris has allowed 72 of them with an above-average 36 percent caught stealing rate. Austin Hedges has a 34 percent caught stealing rate, and he’s clearly the better of the Padres’ primary catchers. Of course, not every stolen base is the catcher’s fault. More often, it’s the pitcher. Tyson Ross isn’t great at keeping runners close, as he has allowed a 74 percent stolen base rate this season (34-for-48). If the Dodgers are able to get on enough, I’d expect some movement from them on the base paths.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.