fb-pixel Skip to main content
Red Sox notebook

Red Sox’ aggressive tactics on bases have defenses on the run

First-base coach Tom Goodwin (left), Xander Bogaerts, and the Red Sox like where they going on the bases.Mike Carlson/Associated Press

Red Sox first base coach Tom Goodwin swiped 369 bags during his 14-year big league career. In 1996, when Goodwin was a member of the Kansas City Royals, he stole 66 bases that year. It was a different game back then, one that relied on speed to exploit teams.

Now, 25 years later, Goodwin has infused some of his aggressive baserunning tactics into this Red Sox team.

“We’ve been trying to work on our primary and secondary leads,” Goodwin said before the Sox’ 7-6 win over the visiting Royals on Tuesday. “We’re trying to be as aggressive as we can, but yet still playing within the realm of the game. We don’t want to get picked off. I think it’s about going toward that extra 90 feet. We talked about that a lot in spring training. I think that was definitely the main goal we had coming in.”


This isn’t about stealing bases. The Red Sox ranked 20th in the league with 29 stolen bases this year. It’s about intent. The Red Sox have capitalized on taking the extra base. For example, Hunter Renfroe hustling his way to an infield single to score a run Saturday against the Yankees. In that same series, Rafael Devers scored on a sacrifice fly in foul territory just beyond first base.

The Sox’ audacity on the bases was born, in part, by both Goodwin and third base coach Carlos Febles (20 steals for Kansas City in 1999). But it was also implemented into the Sox’ style through the opponents they faced.

“We also realized how other teams were doing it to us,” Goodwin intimated. “How Tampa Bay was doing it to us. How Kansas City was doing it to us. And how some of the more athletic teams and how they can put pressure on us and not have to get two and three or four hits in a row or two or three or four hits in an inning to score runs.”


Goodwin and the Sox figured they had the speed and athleticism to do it. That guys were young enough to return the favor to the rest of the league. So far, it has paid dividends.

Rotation could be shuffled

With the exception of the second game of the season, members of the Sox’ rotation has made each of their starts. After the All-Star break, however, the team might be considering sliding in a sixth starter in order to give the pitchers a bit of a break.

“We’re talking about that,” manager Alex Cora said. “We’re going to need some help. These guys, they’ve been pitching the whole time. We’ll see where we go with it.”

Chris Sale is on schedule to throw an up-and-down live batting practice Wednesday. Sale will toss roughly two innings.

Bumps and bruises

Christian Arroyo (right knee contusion) is making progress. Cora expects Arroyo to be ready for the team’s upcoming six-game West Coast road trip. Meanwhile, catcher Kevin Plawecki (left hamstring strain) didn’t respond well when going through his progression Monday. “We have to slow him down a little bit,” Cora said. “Now we have to wait a little bit, see how he feels. But nothing major. But like I told him, this is not about this week or next week. This is about the whole season and we need you to make sure we’re patient enough. We’ll see where it takes us.” . . . Bobby Dalbec left Tuesday’s game with right hamstring tightness. Cora said afterward that he’s OK, but the team will stay away from him Wednesday . . . Tanner Houck tossed a season-high four innings to go along with four strikeouts in the WooSox’ 9-7 loss to visiting Scranton. Houck surrendered two runs and tossed 67 pitches, the most he’s thrown since returning from a right flexor strain. Jarren Duran homered twice and now has 15 for the season.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.