Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles' base running got the wrong kind of attention Tuesday. How well are they living up to their mandate to run more?

Just as quickly as they had a chance to get back into Tuesday' eventual 13-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics, the Orioles made a pair of third-inning outs on the bases to take themselves out of the game.

It was a rare moment in which their base-running aggression harmed, not hurt, and fit with manager Brandon Hyde’s explanation before the game as to why they're running so much.


"We're not going to break any American League records for home runs, and we're not going to have 30-home-run guys up and down the lineup," Hyde said. "To compete, this team is going to have to run the bases well, run the bases aggressive, make it important. Be able to grind out at-bats, wear pitchers down. Little things are important — dirt-ball reads, first-to-thirds, putting pressure on the defense. Those types of things manufacture runs, because we're not going to be able to sit back and rely on a homer. It's just not realistic.

"There's other teams that you can do that and be successful also. But this team here, we've got to rely on our team speed, and we have to rely on being scrappy, and we have to rely on being aggressive. We're going to make some mistakes, but that's OK. We're going to continue to learn from them, and I like our style. I think our style is fun. I think it's fun to watch. I think the guys have bought into it, and what we've talked about in spring training, they've taken into the season. It's been good."


While the Orioles ran all over the Grapefruit League, their aggressiveness has manifested itself in different ways through the first two weeks of the season. In some areas, they're the best in the league. In others, they lag.

Here's a look at how the Orioles stack up on the bases with the rest of the league, with all stats via's base-running page:

First-to-thirds: This was something that the Orioles did seemingly every single game for a spell in spring training, with batters going first-to-third on singles. The Orioles have had just one player take an extra base like that on a single in 19 chances, to go along with twice when a runner has been on first when a double was hit. In those two instances, he scored.

Considering the speed the Orioles have accumulated, it's a little surprising. However, it's not like they have too many opportunities for this. They don't have one-run innings. They score in bunches, and those are the kinds of innings where there's traffic on the bases and it's hard to get extra bases.

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Extra-base taken percentage: While the raw numbers aren't exactly encouraging on that front, the overall percentage of times the Orioles have taken extra bases is also not terribly impressive. At 30 percent, they're tied for the fourth-lowest rate in the game.

Stolen base percentage: Joey Rickard's caught-stealing was the team's second of the season, and Dwight Smith Jr. swiping third was their fifth of the season. That's good for a 71 percent, which will likely go up as the Orioles run.

When they were one of those teams Hyde talked about that wait for home runs, they didn't steal often, but they didn't get thrown out often, either. It'll be interesting to see if running more changes that.

Outs on the bases: Richie Martin getting thrown out at home Tuesday by Oakland center fielder Ramón Laureano was the fifth time the Orioles have made outs on the bases, which is tied for third-most in the league.


It's a pretty crowded corner to say that running into outs is bad. Martin nearly avoided a dead-to-rights out at a base for the second time in a week, and the risk is worth taking. But if they're going to run a lot, that number is going to grow, and that has to be OK.

Bases taken: For the outs to grow, the total bases taken count, which accounts for instances such as bases on passed balls, wild pitches and sacrifice flies, will have to as well.

With 21 so far this season — nearly two per game — the Orioles are leading the league. Those are the kinds of base-running margins that Hyde will hope the team can thrive in, and will be a good marker going forward if things get tough for the Orioles to simply show that they're engaged in the game and paying attention.