During the 2023 regular season, the Arizona Diamondbacks emerged as one of the fastest teams in baseball, second only to the Cincinnati Reds in stolen bases. The bulk of that work was done by outfielder Corbin Carroll, who locked in his inevitable Rookie of the Year Award with a historic 25/50 season. In the regular season, Jake McCarthy, who isn't an everyday outfielder, had 26 stolen bases. Geraldo Perdomo had 16. Christian Walker and Alek Thomas had 11 and 9.
But their competitors in this NLCS, the Philadelphia Phillies, have outrun them in the series with seven stolen bags to six. Carroll has zero stolen base attempts in six games. So the question arises: Why aren't the Diamondbacks running? Why aren't the Diamondbacks running?
Sure, it could have something to do with JT Realmuto, who has the best pop time to second in baseball, being behind the plate for the Phillies. It could have something to do with the fact that there's a league championship on the line, and a little more caution isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, Gabriel Moreno's pop time (7th league-wide) and arm from behind the plate isn't anything to sniff at either, but even Kyle Schwarber, who had zero stolen bases in the regular season and isn't thought of as a daredevil on the base paths by any stretch of the imagination, dared to run on him after a wild pitch in Game 6.
When they get to first, Carroll and many of the Dbacks still put mitts on their right hands, still bounce and hop and fake a little toward second. The intention is there. Everyone knows they can run. So why aren't they?
During a press conference after last night's game, manager Torey Lovullo even acknowledged that "his club hasn’t necessarily played 'D-back baseball'" during the series. Put the Diamondbacks' caution up against the Texas Rangers in their ALCS, and everything becomes even more baffling and frustrating. Last night, in a deciding Game 7, the Rangers stole three bags in the first inning alone, a thrilling sequence which resulted in two of their 11 runs. Those three represent a third of the Rangers' total stolen bases in the entire postseason.
Diamondbacks look toward a return to form for a decisive Game 7 after signs of life in Game 6
Things looked a little better Monday, it's true. The Diamondbacks stole four times, and Perdomo's steal of second in the top of the seventh led to Arizona's fifth run after an RBI single by Ketel Marte. Marte's triple two innings prior scored Carroll from first easily. Great, things are looking up. The Dbacks have a little momentum; they've reminded themselves how fast they are. They won Game 6 by the largest margin of their three victories over Philly. The question then is if they'll remember tonight, during a Game 7 that could send them to the World Series for only the second time in franchise history.
Arizona has already been beaten twice by the home team at Citizens Bank, which holds a crowd that seems to imbue its team with superpowers, especially when it seems like the walls are closing in on them. The Dbacks need to bring it home. They need to borrow whatever Phillies audacity Bryce Harper seems to bask in and excel with — or, maybe, they just need to remember who they are.
They're the Diamondbacks. They run.