In recent years, the Brewers have been running rampant all over the Pirates in the win column; this season, they have literally been running rampant over the Pirates.
Even in a season when, for the most part, the two teams’ fortunes have been turned with Pittsburgh above .500 and Milwaukee below,
the Brewers have still found success against the gold and black. In 11 match-ups thus far, the Brewers have won seven, including four of the last five.
And through through those 11 games, Runnin’ Ron Roenicke’s Brewers have stolen 19 bases in 20 attempts, good for a 95 percent success rate. To compare, the league’s top team stolen base percentage belongs to the Phillies at 82.2 percent, the Brewers are at 77.9 percent, and the league average in 2011 was at a 72.8 mark.
Considering the Pirates’ laughable defensive figures against base-stealers, Ron Roenicke would lose the first ‘R’ off his somewhat-endearing, somewhat-just-used-to-save-characters-on-twitter “RRR” nickname if his team wasn’t running crazy on Pittsburgh. They have given up the second most stolen bases (114) and thrown out the fewest runners (12) in the league. Even worse (or better in the Brewers’ case), Rod Barajas, off of whom the Brew Crew have swiped seven bags in seven tries on Friday and Saturday, has thrown out only 6 out 72 runners at a clip of eight percent.
Now you can’t blame it all on the catcher. The pitcher has to hold the runner on and make a quick delivery home, but when you’ve only thrown out 12 runners all season, there is a strong advantage for the other team. And, in this case, that “other team” is the Brewers. That advantage is a large part of the reason for their victory Saturday.
After drawing a walk, Carlos Gomez stole second. Then he stole third. Then he scored on a wild pitch. Nobody got a hit in the inning. The Brewers won by one on Corey Hart’s walk-off bomb.
To no surprise, Gomez holds the team lead with four stolen bases against Pittsburgh. Rickie Weeks has ten stolen bases on the year, but four of those have come against the Pirates. Ryan Braun has three, Nyjer Morgan has two, and Norichika Aoki has one. But this is where it gets comical. Aramis Ramirez has somehow managed two steals against Pittsburgh and both of Milwaukee’s catchers, Jonathan Lucroy and the waddling Martin Maldonado, actually have a stolen base apiece. You said what? Throw in a Jean Segura theft on Friday and you have 19 steals in 11 games.
If the Brewers played Pittsburgh, their staff, and Barajas and Michael McKenry 162 times, at their current pace, they would be on track to steal 279 bases.
I promise that, when I have kids, I’ll tell them not ever to steal anything…but if we’re ever in Pittsburgh, I’ll give teach ’em the pop-up slide and give ’em the green light.