Black wants Rockies aggressive on bases

Black wants Rockies aggressive on bases

MILWAUKEE -- It's not that Rockies manager Bud Black loves outs on the bases. It's that he likes the attitude that sometimes leads to them.

Through three games going into Thursday the Rockies led the Majors in outs on the bases with four, and were tied with many for tops in runners caught stealing with two. Oh, yeah. There was a pickoff.

But it becomes a true problem only if the Rockies become afraid of outs. Big leads, bigger secondary leads, the willingness to steal, the insistence on the extra base are all positives in Black's philosophy. That's because the thought process goes well beyond the occasional out.

"If you get thrown out, you look at that one moment: A guy got thrown out," Black said. "But you don't know how it affects the next inning, the next few innings, the next day or the next series when teams are scouting you. It creates a culture, it creates a feeling."

Black believes the Rockies have players to be aggressive on the bases, with the ball in play as well as on steal attempts. Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra have been base-stealing threats, and Ian Desmond (currently out with a fractured left hand) has that history. DJ LeMahieu was one of baseball's most efficient runners two seasons ago. Trevor Story has speed that he's looking to use on the bases more often.

But Black said, "I think any is able to do that, if the mindset is right. It helps if you have team speed."

The aggressiveness on the bases, Black said, is important at Coors Field, especially with the ball in play. With outfielders having to cover a lot of ground, there are more opportunities. And Black said it's not wise to play one way at home and another on the road, so the Rockies will push.

The first three games with the Brewers saw each team have two runners erased at the plate. In both cases, the runner was going from second to home. The Rockies have lost two at third base -- one a regrettable read by Mark Reynolds, the other when Parra tried for third on his three-run double -- but partly it was to attract a throw and make sure the last of the three runners scored.

This philosophy stems from his time as pitching coach with manager Mike Scioscia and the Angels. When they won the 2002 World Series, they finished tied for ninth in the Majors with 44 outs on the bases, and tied for third with 23 outs at the plate.

"Even my years in Anaheim, we got thrown out probably more than anybody, other coaches and managers had to be aware of the Angels because we ran the bases," Black said. "But we made up for it with probably more extra bases, stolen bases. It creates pressure points on the opposition."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.