CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians showed themselves to be an aggressive team on the base paths and outfielder Rajai Davis led the way in that regard.
And as the Indians close in on the start of their American League Division Series with the Boston Red Sox Thursday, they will do what is best for the offense.
“We’re just going to continue to do what we’ve been doing, and we’ll let the games dictate what we do,” Davis said. “I’m going to go out there and just be ready, make sure my body’s ready to run. I don’t think anything should change.”
Despite not being an every-day player, Davis stole an American League-leading 43 stolen bases, which was his best total in the last three seasons. Those 43 steals were more than two of the teams that made the postseason, the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets.
“He’s probably done more than we anticipated,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “To lead the league in stolen bases not being an every-day player, he probably played five times a week, when you ask him to be ready to run, he’s ready.
“When you put him in to pinch run and the whole world knows he’s going to steal, he still can steal, and it’s not by luck. I get to watch him every day. He is ready to run every day. There’s not been one day all year where he’s been slowed by something, and that’s because he works so hard at it.”
To Francona, that aggressiveness is not limited to just stealing bases. It is being alert enough to take advantage of other situations that allow the Indians to take an extra base and put themselves in a position to score runs, which tend to be at a premium in the postseason.
“We play the way we play,” Francona said. “You’ve got to get on base. I think there’s usually less of that in the postseason because you’re not facing all the team’s pitchers. You’re facing probably the top three, and if you’re facing the rest of the bullpen, it means that the game’s one-sided.
“Those things tend to be less, but it doesn’t mean that the one time we’re able to go first-to-third or move up on a ball in the dirt that it can’t help us win a game. The way we play, we don’t have to steal bases to be a good base-running team. I think that’s one of our strengths, and I think it will continue.”