Baserunning in focus after gaffes 'cost us'

August 17th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- One of the main points expressed by the front office after Monday's dismissal of manager Chris Woodward was that the Rangers needed to re-emphasize the importance of fundamentals -- in all phases of the game, including preparation, execution and everything in between.

“I think most importantly, we want to continue to create a competitive, energetic team that takes the field night in, night out prepared to win,” general manager Chris Young said in Monday’s press conference. “I think that we want to see improvement in our fundamentals, just the basic fundamentals. I think it's something that we haven't executed to the level we need to to become a championship team, the concentration in those areas.”

One phase -- the baserunning -- came under a microscope Tuesday night, when a duo of errors on the basepaths likely cost the Rangers runs as they fell, 5-1, to the A’s at Globe Life Field.

The Rangers have spent all season being aggressive on the basepaths, but a combination of indecision and lack of effort on the bases led to two potential rallies falling short in back-to-back innings.

“That's a part of [what needs to be cleaned up], but I don't think that's all of it,” interim manager Tony Beasley said postgame. “Fundamentally, our cuts and relays haven't been as crisp as they need to be, things of that nature. I think the baserunning is just ... we've been aggressive and we've taken chances [all season]. Tonight, there were a lot of factors that played into the baserunning mistakes.”

The first misstep came in the bottom of the fourth inning.

With two outs in the frame, Nathaniel Lowe hit a double to put a runner in scoring position for the first time against A's lefty JP Sears. Jonah Heim immediately followed with a double of his own down the third-base line, but a hesitation on Lowe’s part and a possibly aggressive send by third-base coach Corey Ragsdale resulted in Lowe being thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

“Our effort wasn't where it should have been when the ball was hit,” Beasley said. “It was [with] two outs. That played into it, as well as some other factors that played into the outcome of that play. I don't see those [two baserunning errors] as just necessarily fundamental, but there's things that we have to clean out ... and just be more decisive on the bases.”

The second miscue came with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. As Marcus Semien flied out in foul territory down the first-base line, Leody Taveras tagged up late at third base, getting caught in a rundown before the A's tagged him out to end the threat.

Taveras said he was prepared to go home when the ball was caught after Ragsdale told him to tag up, but hesitated when he saw the quick throw from right fielder Seth Brown up the line.

“He was told to tag, and I guess he was indecisive about it,” Beasley said. “He wasn’t sure. But it’s just a play that we would like to execute and take advantage of, because it was a really difficult play for the opposing team to make. It's a play that we would like to make a better decision on and be more decisive. It’s not a cut-and-dry play. “

A complete overhaul in execution and playing style won’t happen overnight -- that's something Beasley has continually emphasized in the hours since he was named interim manager. But mistakes like the ones Texas made in the loss to the A’s can’t happen consistently.

“We’ve already had some conversations about those,” Beasley said. “They've been addressed, and that's what we have to do, address the things that we didn't execute. ... And they cost us. We had a chance to get back in the ballgame after being down 3-0, and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot there in the fourth and fifth innings.”