Confidence key as Miami leads league in steals

Confidence key as Miami leads league in steals

Confidence key as Miami leads league in steals
MIAMI -- For the Marlins, stealing bases is as much about confidence as it is about ability. Fortunately for them, they have a surplus of both this season.

Miami leads the Majors with 38 stolen bases entering Monday's game against Pittsburgh, with Oakland not too far behind with 34. San Diego is the next-closest team in the National League with 29 steals.

"When you're running the base, you cannot worry about if they're going to throw you out," said Jose Reyes, who is second on the team with nine steals. "If you worry about that, they're going to throw you out every time. You have to go there with the right attitude, thinking that you're going to make it. It's not going to happen every time, but you have to go with that mentality."

That mentality has paid off, as the Marlins are tied with the Phillies for first in the league in success rate on the basepaths at .844, getting caught just seven times in 45 attempts. Philadelphia is 27-for-32 in steal attempts.

A big part of the Marlins' success has been center fielder Emilio Bonifacio, who entered Monday leading the league with a perfect 17 steals in 17 attempts. He added to that total in the fourth inning on Monday after an RBI single against the Pirates.

The Cubs' Starlin Castro and the Dodgers' Dee Gordon are second in the Majors with 12 steals. Bonifacio's perfect start set a club record over the weekend, breaking the mark Chuck Carr held since 1994.

"He's got confidence in his ability," first-base and baserunning coach Gary Thurman said of Bonifacio. "The more successful he is, the more confident he is. He's out there. He has no fear. He's consistent. He doesn't give anything away with any extra energy in his body.

"He looks the same whether he is going or not. You can never tell if he is going or he is not going. He doesn't change anything about himself. He doesn't tip his hand."

It has also helped the Marlins that Thurman and manager Ozzie Guillen give them a green light so long as the pitcher doesn't have a quick delivery to the plate, and Thurman makes sure his players know as much as possible before attempting to steal.

"I tell them exactly what I see. ... And whatever they do with the information, they deal with it," Thurman said. "If I think they can make it, I encourage them to go. But it's all up to them and their confidence. I feel the more information they have, the more confidence they have in going."