Molina's arm presents challenge for Berry

Molina's arm presents challenge for Berry
October 22, 2013, 10:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports)

BOSTON --  Quintin Berry has appeared in two postseason games out of 10 so far for the Red Sox. Both times he entered games – once in the ALDS against the Rays, and again in the ALCS against the Tigers – as a pinch-runner.  He knows if he is going to see any  action in the World Series against the Cardinals, it will likely be in the same role.
 
In his previous games, Berry stole a base in each. If he is to do so in the World Series, the job will be tougher. He will have to steal with Yadier Molina behind the plate for the Cardinals. Molina threw out 20 of 26 would be base stealers in the regular season. His .435 caught stealing percentage was second in the majors, behind only A.J. Ellis of the Dodgers at .444.
 
“He’s good,” Berry said of Molina. “The best in the game. That’s all I got. I know everybody’s wondering how I’m going to be able to get a bag off of him. Hopefully, I come into the game off a closer or a set-up guy who’s slow to the plate and that’s how I’m going to get my bag. If they give me something, then I can. But to steal straight off a Molina, that’s tough. But I believe that I could get a good enough jump to try to beat him.”
 
Berry was acquired from the Royals on Aug. 27 just for this purpose. He stole three bases for the Sox in the regular season, without being caught. He has been successful in all 28 attempts in the major leagues combined, with 22 last season with the Tigers.
 
Stealing, though, is more off the pitcher than the catcher for Berry.

“Yeah, if the pitcher gives you a chance, if you got like an average catcher, then you can kind of steal off the catcher,” he said. “But when  you got an above-average catcher, you really have to get it off the pitcher. You really have to pick your time off the pitcher, because otherwise you’re’ a dead duck out thee trying to get to second base. And we don’t want to run into any outs, not with this ball club. So just got to be smart with him.
 
“If a pitcher’s slow to first base, I can get a larger lead, things like that. If he’s quick to first base, I got to kind of shorten up my lead. So, hopefully, they’ll be slow to first base and slow to home and it’ll be easy.”
 
Still, stealing with Molina behind the plate won’t be easy. Is there more skill or luck involved?
 
“About 50-50, just throw a coin up in the air and see,“ Berry said with a laugh. “I think I’m smart enough to understand if I’m going to go, I feel like I got a really good shot of making it. I’m not just going to be trying to guess it and hope for the best. If you see me take off, it’s because I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to get that bag. So it’ll take some skill.”
 
The Sox led the major leagues with an 87-percent success rate, stealing 123 bases, getting caught just 18 times. Perhaps it’s appropriate that the these two teams, who also tied for the best record in baseball, are meeting in the World Series.
 
“Yeah, it is,” Berry said. “But the thing about that is there’s not very many running teams. so I think to defend against the run against most teams is not really hard to do. But a team like ours who has a ton of weapons on the basepaths, I think that’s going to make it work more toward our favor. If we keep playing our game, I think we’ll be all right.”