The White Sox want their base runners to maintain an aggressive mindset and not be timid, which means they tow a fine line.
They believe aggressive running benefits them overall and that the club has trended in the right direction this season even though they still have the third-most outs on the bases in baseball, according to baseball-reference.com.
But while they want their players to stay aggressive, they also want sound decision-making on the bases because the team’ plays in a number of close games. Of their first 123 games, 68 have been decided by two runs or fewer.
With the White Sox trailing by three runs on Monday, an aggressive call by Avisail Garcia resulted in the final out of the sixth inning as he tried to stretch a single into a double. Garcia would have been safe on the play but slid past the bag and was tagged out at a time when the White Sox were in serious need of base runners.
“If you make it, it always looks good, being aggressive,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There's a good amount of being aggressive and there's also the amount, when you're out, nobody ever likes it when you're out.
“You have to kind of think through that.
“We're aggressive that way, our guys know that. You don't want to just sit there and give away outs, but you definitely want to be aggressive, you want them to have to play it all the way out.”
With 39 games to go the White Sox have run into 56 outs on the bases. Only the Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays, tied with 57, have more. Given how their offense has struggled most of the season, the White Sox have been OK because a successful aggressive call potentially could set up an inning when bats have gone silent. Ah the same time, the White Sox know an aggressive approach can be costly in a bunch of tight games so they’d like smart choices.
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When Garcia went last night, it was Rusney Castillo, who hasn’t played very much and who’s arm they likely respect more afterward. Even so, Garcia beat the throw only to slide past the base.
So while Ventura wants his players to exercise caution, he doesn’t want them to overthink the matter and lose some of their aggression in the process, either.
“You don't want to be gun shy about it,” Ventura said. “I think because he comes off the bag on that one, I don't want him to shy off and not be aggressive. You don't want to take that away from him.
“We like being aggressive. I think they made some good choices, you have to be able to stay on the bag.”