Base Stealing Continues to Be Problem for Los Angeles Angels
There’s no point in rehashing everything that’s gone wrong for the Los Angeles Angels (51-62) this year. There is, however, one lesser-known area in which the Halos have been grossly deficient: giving up stolen bases.
In Wednesday night’s 10-3 loss to the Texas Rangers — a loss that completed a series sweep — the Angels allowed seven stolen bases, an absurd total for an organization that once prided itself on its stinginess towards opposing baserunners.
Starting catcher Chris Iannetta has allowed a whopping 73 stolen bases this year, the most in the American League by a longshot. Iannetta is throwing out just 13 percent of base stealers, an unacceptably low percentage for a defense already beset by injuries and errors. Hank Conger — who starts occasionally against right-handed pitchers — is faring only slightly better, having thrown out 12 of 42 prospective base stealers for a 28.6 percent success rate.
The liability at catcher must be extremely frustrating for manager Mike Scioscia, who caught for the Los Angeles Dodgers during his playing career. Scioscia has coached some outstanding catchers during his tenure as manager in Anaheim, including brothers Bengie and Jose Molina. For the Angels to be worrying about their catching in light of all the other team needs that need to be addressed going into this offseason is problematic to say the least, and it will be interesting to see whether or not GM Jerry Dipoto decides to upgrade at the position over the winter.
Priority No. 1 for Los Angeles should be acquiring a starting pitcher. But that pitcher can only be effective if the man behind the plate is doing his job, and that has not been the case this year for the Halos.