Rangers know running game needs work

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knows his club hasn't been clicking on all cylinders when it comes to the run game. Some games, they're aggressive and change games by getting runners into scoring position and putting pressure on the opponent. But too often at times recently, they have run into outs on the bases, turning a potential scoring chance into rally-killing out.

"You get out of sorts in every part of the game and we're out of rhythm on the basepaths," Washington said Wednesday. "That's all I can say it we're out of rhythm. We're addressing it, but we're out of rhythm."

Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton were both caught by the pitcher as they attempted to steal second base Tuesday. Adrian Beltre thought about taking third base on a ball in the dirt Monday, strayed too far from the bag and was caught as he tried to get back to second. Those are just a few recent examples. It's been inconsistent for much of the year.

The other part of the running game is stealing bases. The Rangers have stolen 90 bases as a team so far this season. They've stolen more than 100 since the 2009 season and had 143 last year. That includes fewer stolen bases from Andrus, who has 20 right now and has had at least 32 stolen bases in each of his previous three seasons. So why fewer this year?

"I haven't run as much this year, so I kind of lost my timing and my rhythm," Andrus said. "One reason is Josh is hitting more balls the first few pitches. I tell him that he gets paid to drive in runs and if he does it on the first pitch, that's fine. I'd rather score than steal a base."

But Andrus also acknowledged that pitchers are paying a lot more attention to the Ranger speedsters now. They are throwing over, using slide steps and trying to do what they can to keep them closer to the bag and make stealing bases tougher.

"The pitchers haven't been allowing us to run," Washington said. "Sometimes we get out there and we get antsy and we try to force things and it causes problems. We've got to do a better job of focusing."

Washington said he's talked to his guys about the problem and is confident they will improve and work on it. But Washington made it clear the club will continue to stay aggressive on the bases when they can.

"We're not going to stop trying," Washington said. "So keep looking. We're not going to stop. And that came out of my mouth."

Washington said he believes the club has been too aggressive at times on the bases.

"If there's a perception we aren't being as aggressive because we aren't stealing the bags," Washington said. "We're in a bad way right now on the basepaths. We'll straighten it out."