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Preseason Questions: Will Running Game Return?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, left, waits for the pick off throw as Texas Rangers Ian Kinsler (5) slides in stealing second base during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Friday, July 27, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Kinsler was safe on the play. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

    Since the Rangers failed to land really any of their off-season targets, there are several questions facing the team heading into spring training and the 2013 season.

    Today's Question: How will the Rangers respond to an awful base-running year in 2012?

    In 2010, the Texas Rangers took the baseball world by storm by going to their first World Series after winning the first playoff series, and then another against the vaunted New York Yankees to win the AL pennant.

    Sure, the Rangers had the benefit of trading for ace Cliff Lee midway through the season, but a big reason for their success was the way they pressured opposing pitchers and defenses with highly aggressive, yet effective, baserunning.

    In 2011, the aggressiveness continued, as did the Rangers' success when they were famously within one strike, twice, of winning the World Series in six games before eventually losing it in seven.

    But last season, the Rangers became passive on the bases, and at times, downright stupid. The top two hitters in the order, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, combined for 11 pickoffs, finishing first and second in the league, respectively.

    As a club, the Rangers had the biggest dropoff from 2011 to 2012 in bases gained (steals plus extra bases, minus pickoffs, caught stealings and out advancings), according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.

    The Rangers went from first in that category in the American League in 2011 all the way to 11th (out of 14 teams) in 2012. To get back to being a successful team, the Rangers are going to have to go back to their old ways on the base paths. They'll have more speed in the lineup this year than in recent years with Leonys Martin/Craig Gentry hitting at the bottom of the order on a consistent basis, and Jurickson Profar thrown in there in some fashion, at some point.