Aggressive Red Sox finding success on bases

Aggressive Red Sox finding success on bases

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are taking more and more chances on the basepaths.

At this point last season, Boston was 14-for-19 in stolen-base attempts. Through 43 games this year, the Red Sox had more than double that amount, going 31-for-34 (91.2 percent).

Entering Sunday, they led the Major Leagues in stolen-base percentage and ranked third in steals.

Mookie Betts had a perfect record (8-for-8) and led the team in steals. Though that might not be so surprising coming from the 5-9, 180-pound leadoff hitter, his teammates are also catching on to the speed game.

One of those guys many don't associate speed with is Hanley Ramirez, who is 4-for-4 this season. He didn't reach that mark until 91 games into last season. Hanley only had six in 105 games in 2015.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said one of the reasons his team leads the Majors in runs (251) is not just by recording 39 home runs in their past 25 games, but by being aggressive on the bases.

"You use every tool," Farrell said. "Video, scouting and once they trust the info and the triggers and are successful, that propels itself. We are seeing that, even with guys that aren't the fastest guys on our club, their instincts and what they're looking for allows them to be an above average baserunner in those spots."

Entering Sunday, the next highest team in stolen-base percentage is the Yankees, coming in at 81.3 percent (26-for-32). Last year, the Blue Jays had the best mark in the Majors with a 79.3 percent success rate (88-for-11), while the Red Sox finished 10th (72.4, 71-for-98).

"We can do it in a number of different ways," Farrell said. "Our all-field approach has been on display for quite a while. We can manufacture runs by taking 90 feet through a straight steal, dirt ball read. They are engaged in the running game. Good players are going to give you that ability. That is what we are living right now. That's a good place to be."

All of this amounts to the Red Sox's ability to get on base and use their smarts to make the right move by picking up go-ahead signals from their coaches, with whpm they've formed relationships.

"We have a number of guys that are trusting the information by [first-base coach] Ruben [Amaro Jr.], [third-base coach Brian] Butterfield, by all of us. That trust allows them to be more decisive and reactionary rather than waiting for a situation to unfold," Farrell said.

Worth noting

• Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan was still feeling some soreness after getting hit by a pitch Saturday and exiting the game with a bruised left hand. He is considered day to day. If Boston needs to replace Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart will be called upon.

Eduardo Rodriguez had a successful bullpen session Sunday and will start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.