Last night the Twins ran wild on the White Sox, stealing five bases in five attempts, and after the loss catcher A.J. Pierzynski put most of the blame on pitcher Gavin Floyd:
We all know where we stand with the running game when Gavin is out there. Everyone knows where we stand, and it’s just part of the game.
Floyd is incredibly easy to steal on, as runners are a perfect 15-for-15 off him this season and 105-for-121 (86.8 percent) for his career. However, the White Sox’s inability to control the running game extends well beyond last night and well beyond Floyd.
Chicago has allowed 61 steals in 69 games and is the only team in the league to throw out fewer than 20 percent of runners. And even that terrible rate is misleading, as a) Mark Buehrle has always been nearly impossible to run on, and b) eight of the team’s 14 caught stealings have come on pickoffs.
When the catcher actually has to make a throw, the White Sox have allowed 61 steals on 67 attempts for a throw-out rate of 9 percent. To put that in some context, the league-average throw-out rate is 29 percent. Take out Floyd and opponents are still 46-for-52 (88.4 percent) and Pierzynski’s throw-out percentages during seven seasons with the White Sox are 23, 22, 24, 18, 23, 26, and 20.
One-fifth of the time Buehrle shuts down the running game, one-fifth of the time opponents run wild on Floyd, and in the other three-fifths of the time opponents run at will on Pierzynski (and backup catcher Ramon Castro). There’s plenty of blame to go around.