{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Catchers, pitchers working on slowing baserunners

|
Catchers, pitchers working on slowing baserunners play video for Catchers, pitchers working on slowing baserunners

HOUSTON -- If there's one department on the Angels that needs to improve from last season -- and surely there is more than one -- it's shutting down the running game. They ranked 28th in the Majors in caught-stealing percentage in 2013 (21.1 percent), while giving up the second-most stolen bases in baseball (131).

"I don't care about the numbers; it needs to get better for us to win," Angels catcher Chris Iannetta said. "It's tough to go no outs, one out, guy on first base and you have a double play in order, and all of a sudden it's the same scenario with a runner on second or third and now they're in scoring position. We need to keep guys out of scoring position, keep a double play in order so we can get a ground-ball double play."

Iannetta gunned down 19.2 percent of would-be base-stealers and Hank Conger's rate was 24.2 percent (the Major League average is 27.2 percent). But the consensus on the Angels -- from the coaching staff to the pitchers to the catchers themselves -- is that the pitchers have to be quicker to the plate to give Iannetta and Conger a chance.

The Angels' struggles with opponent stolen bases came to a head from Aug. 6-7, when the Rangers stole a combined 13 bases in two games. After that, though, the Angels put a greater emphasis on pitchers being quicker to the plate and got a little better in that department, with an opponents' stolen-base percentage that ranked 13th.

"Before that," Iannetta said, "we were terrible at it."

The Angels, who had thrown out two of five runners heading into Sunday, should be better with three lefties in the starting rotation this year. But that won't matter if C.J. Wilson, Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs aren't holding runners well.

"If you're slow to the plate and you don't give catchers and middle infielders a chance to make a play, then it doesn't matter [if you're right-handed or left-handed]," Iannetta said. "You have to be able to hold a guy close and they have to not be able to outrun your leg kick, too."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español