As I write this, the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies are in the 7th inning of a Coors Field-esque showdown. Through six innings, the two teams have combined for 18 runs, 24 hits, 7 extra base hits, and a whopping 13.50 ERA…
The headline of the night, however, has nothing to do with the batter’s box. Instead, the most eye-popping statistics have come from the basepaths. The Rockies have eight steals as a team, including five from OF Dexter Fowler. Here is an example of the Rockies’ mindset on the basepath tonight:
- D. Fowler singled to shallow right
- D. Fowler stole second
- R. Spilborghs walked
- D. Fowler stole third, R. Spilborghs stole second
The gameplan seems simple, get on base and start running. I am most impressed because this is happening in an era of baseball where prominent base stealers have all but died off.
My dad used to tell me about how Rickey Henderson simply dominated games from the basepaths. Henderson would take a walk to lead off the game, steal second, then steal third, leaving the opposing team with no option but to concede the run. Fowler’s performance tonight hearkens back to the days when base runners regularly dominated baseball games. This isn’t to say that stolen bases aren’t significant anymore, but to say that there is no star-caliber player who is heralded for running wild nearly every time he is on base.
So far tonight Fowler has ran on nearly every opportunity he has had . He is five-for-five in steal attempts , and there is every chance he could end up with six or seven. In the fourth inning he singled and stole second, and had it not been for Ryan Spilborghs singling on an early pitch in his at-bat, Fowler would have probably made another run at third base.
Will Dexter Fowler end the drought of 100+ steal seasons in Major League Baseball? Probably not. But maybe Major League Baseball needs more base runners to run wild. It adds another dimension to the game that most fans aren’t used to seeing.
In a completely unrelated matter, there is still no news on the whereabouts of missing Padres Catcher Nick Hundley. He was last seen behind home plate in tonight’s game, but after the Rockies went eight-for-eight on the basepaths, Padres Manager Bud Black filed a missing person report in order to determine (as Black put it), “just where in the hell he was for the first six innings of the game.”