White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers having trouble stopping thieves
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org April 25, 2013 11:08PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 11:46PM
Twenty games into his first season as an every-day catcher, Tyler Flowers is none too proud of this glaring statistic: Base stealers were 14-for-15 against him behind the plate going into the White Sox’ game Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
In most cases, runners have had big jumps on Sox pitchers, leaving Flowers little or no chance.
“He’s working on [his throwing],’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “You have to concentrate on holding guys and giving him a chance to throw guys out.’’
The Indians’ Jason Kipnis stole second and third Wednesday on Jose Quintana. Rajai Davis did the same thing to Chris Sale in Toronto.
“That guy had a Flintstones [fast-moving feet moving the car] start yesterday,’’ Ventura said. “You’ve got to stop them and make them take a step back.’’
Flowers said Sox pitchers know they should hold runners, but the hitter is the No. 1 focus.
“It’s been a combination of things,’’ said Flowers, who threw out 12 of 40 (30 percent) runners last season. “Can our pitchers do a better job being quicker? Yeah, on some of them, for sure. But at the same time, we’re not going to sacrifice pitches and getting a hitter out just to pad [stealing] stats or keep a guy off second. A lot of time, the situation dictates where a pitchout or being quick to the plate is not the emphasis [over getting the hitter out].’’
It’s not like the Sox are ignoring runners. In two cases, pickoff throws by Sale (to first base in Toronto) and Matt Thornton (to second on Monday) were wild and led to runs. So it goes when a team is going bad.
“I haven’t seen those guys do it before, so I’d have to say it was a fluke,’’ Flowers said. “Maybe the cold weather or something, but at the same time, that’s no excuse. They’re throwing pitches to home plate locating inside and out, so it seems like we should be able to locate over there and make a catchable play on a pickoff.
“I think it just happens. Right now, all those kinds of little things keep adding up.’’