Friday, September 5, 2014

Brantley's Career High 18 Stolen Bases

Michael just set his last career high less than 24 hours ago, but already tonight he's done it again! Michael set another new career high when he stole 2nd base in the bottom of the 1st inning during the first game of the Chicago White Sox series on September 5. now Michael has 18 stolen bases for the first time in a season. his previous career high was set last year, when he stole 17 bases, but he was caught stealing 4 times. so far this year he's only been caught stealing once, so Michael's had a better stolen base:caught stealing ratio for most of this season as well.

photo courtesy of The Plain Dealer (Chuck Crow)

let me get into the exciting details of this new feat, his 3rd new career high in 4 days and 5 games into September, no less! Michael was facing the tough lefty Chris Sale, a pitcher he hasn't had much success against in his career. coming into this game, Michael was hitting just 2-for-19 against Sale. i was worried that Michael would go 0-for-4 tonight (subsequently ending his 8-game hitting streak), so i never expected him to even be on base, let alone attempt to steal and set a new record. i'm terrible, i know lol so anyways, on the 5th pitch of a 1-2 count, Michael hit a 2-out line drive single to left fielder Michael Taylor. that was just the 17th hit a left-handed batter has recorded off Sale this season. lefties were only hitting .150 (16-for-107) against him before Michael's hit. so you can see why my worry was legit.

the next hitter in the inning was Carlos Santana. after a 1-2 count, as ball 2 was thrown, i heard Hammy say "the runner goes," and i was immediately concerned because Sale is a very tough pitcher to steal off of. more runners have been caught than have successfully stolen bases off him. but i guess Michael got a good jump and made it to 2nd base safely. then he advanced to 3rd base when catcher Tyler Flowers' throw to 2nd sailed into center field. after Sale threw ball 3 and the count was full, Santana then singled on a line drive to left field, and Michael scored the first run of the game to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead. (they later went on to win the game in walk-off fashion, 2-1, in 10 innings.)

i always thought Michael had the potential to be a minimum 20 base stealer per year, and i'm happy to see he's finally getting up towards that. it's almost a guarantee to say he should finish this season with at least 20 stolen bases. and even though he did just set a new high for himself, i won't accept anything less than 20 when 2014 is all said and done. i so desperately want him to be a 20-20 guy this year. (20 home runs, 20 stolen bases.) with 22 games left, i know he can do it and i believe he will! =D

although this is a personal best, Michael does not currently lead the team in this category.

photo cropped off

he's 4 stolen bases behind Jason Kipnis at the moment, but Kip has been caught stealing 3 times. therefore, Michael's 18:1 stolen vs. caught ratio is better than Kip's 22:3 ratio, and it's also a team best ;D

so congratulations to you, Michael, yet AGAIN, on another record setting achievement. i am so proud to be able to say that i've been here every step of the way this season as your career year continues to unfold. it gives me great joy to see you becoming one of the premier baseball players in the league.

if you're having trouble keeping tabs on Michael's career year, here are links to the previous blogs i wrote about all the other career highs he's accomplished thus far:
hit by pitches, 6/10 (currently has 7)
home runs, 6/15 (currently has 18)
runs scored, 7/21 (currently has 85)*
extra base hits, 8/7 (currently has 59)*
total bases, 8/8 (currently has 262)*
RBI, 8/9 (currently has 87)*
hits, 9/2 (currently has 165)*
doubles, 9/4 (currently has 39)*

*denotes team high

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