Buxton relieved to see end of stolen-base streak

Replay equipment down Monday; Garver leads off vs. lefty

April 24th, 2019

HOUSTON -- For someone who had a club-record streak of 33 successful stolen bases snapped on Monday night, was extraordinarily energetic and cheerful as he held court in front of his locker in the corner of the Minute Maid Park visitors' clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon.

Buxton went back and reviewed the video of Astros reliever Chris Devenski, catcher Robinson Chirinos and shortstop Carlos Correa perfectly executing the pitch, throw and tag at second base in the eighth inning of the series opener, and he determined there was nothing he did wrong. It was just fantastic execution from the Astros.

"I was like, 'You know what, I'll just start it over,'" Buxton said. "I just took the positive side of it. It is what it is. Tip my cap. I'm coming. I'm coming back.

"I kind of took it as a learning curve. If I don't get thrown out, how am I going to know what I'm doing wrong on the bases?"

And now that the pressure of the streak is off Buxton's back, he's thrilled that he's just free to run again.

"In a way, it's more relieving, because now, I get to run," Buxton said. "I think I put a little bit more pressure on myself once I got on. 'All right, make sure you can get here,' so that way, instead of trying to get that extra base and being aggressive and trying to get that extra 90 feet, I was more on the passive side of, 'Make sure you can get this before you run.' Trying to be perfect instead of just playing the game."

Buxton's last caught stealing had been in Baltimore on May 23, 2017, when he overslid the bag after a successful stolen base. He is now 39-for-his-last-41 on steals and has been caught six times in 56 career attempts.

The all-time American League record belonged to Ichiro Suzuki, who had 45 straight from April 29, 2006, to May 16, 2007, and the all-time Major League record is 50, held by Vince Coleman.

Buxton, who said that he has had the green light on the basepaths since he played in Class A in 2013 ("It's one of those things where, 'If you get on base, I want you going in the first three pitches.'"), admitted that the streak would weigh on his mind when he reached base and that his desire to stay perfect had probably cost him a few stolen bases along the way.

"More than likely, yeah," Buxton said. "There's been some times when I felt great on the bases and I've looked, and it's like, 'Man, he's got a cannon.' My first thought was, 'Man, I don't want to get thrown out, so I'm not going to run.' Instead of, 'You know what, I'm going to run. I don't care how good you are.' I got that mentality, but it was still on the passive side. It was that one thing holding me back, instead of me just going."

That begs the question, then: If and when Buxton starts another stolen base streak, how long will it take before that desire to be perfect might creep into his mind again?

Buxton paused a moment to think.

"How many was I at?" he asked.

Thirty-three, reporters told him.

"Thirty-three!" Buxton replied with a laugh.

Twins' replay equipment down
All eyes turned towards the Twins' dugout after a close play at second base on Monday night, as home-plate umpire Dana DeMuth waited to see if Rocco Baldelli would challenge the call that George Springer slid in safely under Jorge Polanco's tag after moving up on a throwing error.

But Baldelli didn't have an answer for DeMuth as the seconds ticked by, and ultimately, he emerged from the dugout for a lengthy conversation. As Baldelli revealed on Tuesday afternoon, the functionality of the monitor in the Twins' replay equipment that was provided in the visitors' clubhouse had been intermittent throughout the game.

"If you don’t have the replay system, you’re generally inside, probably watching TV and trying to hope that you can see something or hear something," Baldelli said. "You rely on the guys inside to tell you what’s going on, because you have to. And when you don’t have that ability, you just don’t have it. You do the best you can."

Garver hits leadoff vs. lefty
Baldelli had hinted during Spring Training that the Twins' lineup could look different when facing left-handed starters as opposed to a right-handed starter, but in another quirk of Minnesota's schedule, the Twins didn't face a southpaw until Tuesday -- 21 games into the season.

Though Max Kepler had been the Twins' leadoff hitter for most of the season, catcher Mitch Garver assumed the role on Tuesday against Astros starter Wade Miley, with Kepler moving down into the eighth spot in the lineup. Garver was hitting .424/.457/1.000 with five homers and four doubles in 33 at-bats entering Tuesday.

"We’re basically in a spot now where we’re seeing some things that normally we would deal with the first week of the season and we’re sitting here towards the end of April just dealing with it now," Baldelli said.