MLB: NLCS-New York Mets at Chicago Cubs

Playoff Prospectus: The Cubs Have a Running Problem — NLCS Game Three

This piece, by BP Wrigleyville’s Editor-in-Chief Sahadev Sharma, first appeared at the Baseball Prospectus main site and is available free for all to enjoy. We’ve posted a sneak preview here.

The Cubs bullpen, which has been stout this postseason, gave up three runs. The offense, a group that carried them in the second half, was once again kept quiet by a strong Mets pitching staff. But it was something that’s been an issue all season that reared its ugly head once again and sunk the Cubs on Tuesday night.

The Cubs allowed 137 stolen bases in 2015, with a 22 percent caught stealing rate, both of those figures second worst in baseball. They had the worst Takeoff Rate Above Average (TRAA), at 4.6 percent, which you just need to know means that teams run on Cubs pitching very often. This isn’t about any one arm like Jon Lester and his second-worst TRAA in baseball, or catchers not being able to throw out runners. It’s about the majority of Cubs pitchers being unable to keep runners from getting big leads, great jumps and easy steals.

The Mets stole a total of 51 bases on the season, 29th in the game. Eighteen teams stole more bases that the Mets attempted (76). But in this series, New York has stolen five bases, three of which were of third base (they stole third five times in the regular season) with all three of those runners coming around to score. Each of those runs was costly, but the killer may have come in Game Three.

To read the rest of this article, please head over to Baseball Prospectus.

Lead photo courtesy Dennis Wierzbicki—USA Today Sports.

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