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)
Back in 2010 when the Texas Rangers were in the midst of winning their first playoff series in franchise history, one lasting image will always be remembered.
The glimpse of Elvis Andrus, fro sticking out the sides of his helmet and all, there on first base in the Trop in Tampa Bay, eyes darting back and forth between home plate and pitcher David Price before he took off for second base. Andrus got in Price's head that day and ended up manufacturing a run — his first of many in that postseason.
Ian Kinsler made a habit of doing the same thing as the Rangers were known for being relentless on the bases, never letting off the gas pedal to give opposing pitchers and infielders a mental break. Nowadays, teams probably love playing the Rangers because they don't have to worry about guys stealing bases, much less trying.
In that magical 2010 season, Kinsler and Andrus, the team's No. 1 and No. 2 hitters, combined for 47 steals. The following year, that number climbed to 67. This year? They're down to 41 and have just simply quit running. In fact, in September, the Rangers as a club have stolen a grand total of two bases, and one of those is by the fleet feet of Geovany Soto.
Ron Washington insists he hasn't taken the stinger out of his club's attitude when it comes running the bases, saying they're just as aggressive as they've ever been, possibly even a little too much so. I guess that could evidenced by the amount of pick-offs the Rangers have fallen victim to this season. Kinsler and Andrus have now been picked off 10 times this year, with Kinsler leading the American League with six on the season.
The Rangers have relied way too much on the long ball recently to push runs across. That's not Rangers baseball, and it's definitely not Ron Washington baseball.