The Texas Rangers have far fewer stolen bases this year than they had a year ago.
A lack of aggressiveness? Hardly, according to manager Ron Washington.
"I think we've been too aggressive," he said. "I think teams are doing a lot more to stop us, and we aren't getting the opportunities and we're trying to force things. We are out of rhythm. You get out of rhythm in every aspect of the game. We are trying different things, and they are not working. We are in a bad way on the bases right now."
After a 9-3 loss to the Oakland A's on Wednesday in which the Rangers failed to steal a base, Texas stands among the bottom-dwellers in the AL in all aspects of the running game.
With 90 steals, the Rangers are tied for 11th with the New York Yankees in total steals. They ranked 13th of 14 teams in steal success rate at 67.2 percent. And they are the clear AL leader in a category nobody wants to lead: combined pickoffs (14) and caught stealings (44).
In September, the situation has become even more dire. The Rangers have been successful on just six of 13 steal attempts. They had two runners -- Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus -- caught stealing by pitchers Tuesday.
The biggest difference shows up in the statistical profiles of leadoff man Ian Kinsler and No. 2 hitter Elvis Andrus. They combined for 47 steals in 67 attempts (a 70.1 percent success rate) in 2010 and for 67 steals in 83 attempts (80.7 percent) in 2011. This year, they have combined for 41 steals in 60 attempts (68.3 percent). Kinsler also has been picked off six times, the top total in the AL, and Andrus is close behind with four.
"Elvis wasn't even going anywhere and he got picked off (Tuesday)," Washington said. "It is being addressed, but we're not going to stop running. We're going to keep looking for ways to do it."