TORONTO -- The Angels have been doing a lot of things well lately.
Shutting down the running game is not one of them.
Heading into Saturday's contest against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the Angels led the American League with 73 stolen bases against and were tied for 11th in caught-stealing percentage (20) -- despite having the third-lowest WHIP in the Junior Circuit. During Friday night's 7-5 loss, they gave up three steals. One of them was the result of Rajai Davis swiping third base as John Hester casually tossed the ball back to Ervin Santana.
"But both of our [catchers], Bobby [Wilson] and John, can throw better," Angels manager and former catcher Mike Scioscia said. "[Bullpen coach] Steve [Soliz] had them out here [on Friday], working on a couple things. At times they've made some great throws, and at times there's been some inconsistency. We have to contain a little better -- but not at the cost of forcing pitchers to do something they're not comfortable with."
It's easy to point the finger at Wilson and Hester, who has produced well at the plate and worked well with pitchers but has struggled mightily with his throwing since joining the Angels.
But the pitchers have a lot to do with it, too. The Angels have a few members of their rotation who aren't particularly good at shutting down a running game. Last year, Santana was tied for fourth in the AL in steals against, Dan Haren ranked 11th and C.J. Wilson -- despite being a left-hander and boasting a 1.19 WHIP -- finished in a tie for sixth.
"We have some pitchers that historically are guys that are going to take a little more time to the plate," Scioscia said. "Doesn't mean you can't control the running game, but you have to balance it with the ability to still make quality pitches to the plate -- and that's the most important thing."