Cubs' adventurous baserunning has delivered mixed results
The Cubs don't steal many bases, but they have been aggressive on the bases lately.
Tuesday's game against Cleveland brought examples both the good and the ugly. Javy Baez gave the Cubs a needed run in the eighth inning when he stole second and came all the way around to score when the throw from the catcher sailed into center field.
Replays showed that Baez never turned to look at the ball. He saw the go signal from third base coach Will Venable and never broke stride.
At the same time, the Cubs cost themselves at least 2 runs with aggressive baserunning. Willson Contreras was thrown out at second when he singled and tried to advance on the throw home. In the seventh, Ian Happ led off with a single and was caught stealing. Both players would have scored had the rest of the inning gone the same.
The Cubs were back at it Wednesday. In the second inning, Kyle Schwarber hustled from first to third on Baez's single to center. But Baez was thrown out trying to take second on the throw, which likely cost the Cubs a run.
Manager David Ross touched on the topic before the game.
"I think we just try to talk about responsible baserunning," he said. "You don't want to ever take the aggressiveness out of guys. I think knowing game situations is important. That being said, we still are going to make some mistakes. We're not perfect or robots by any means. Every mistake is a moment to teach and get better.
"Will Venable is in charge of baserunning. He's done a phenomenal job of keeping these guys on task. And they do get off task, like we all do. Then you just have conversations trying to rein them back in to maybe a different way to look at different situations. Overall, I've been very proud of the group."
Ross said one thing he likes his players to do is circle the bases during batting practice.
"It's not asking a lot, but it's also a little bit of a mental check-in for your eyes of where the ball gets hit, how the ball comes off the bat," he said. "That's just a normal routine. I used to do that when I didn't play. I played once every five days because I wasn't any good."