Playing the field – Metro US

Playing the field

Alex Rodriguez caught some of the Texas Rangers clinching their first trip to the AL Championship Series, and besides Cliff Lee, one thing stood out.

That would be the three stolen bases Texas executed as part of an aggressive game plan.

The one that really wowed A-Rod was Nelson Cruz’s swipe of third base with two outs in the fourth inning that became a run when Tampa Bay catcher Kelly Shoppach overthrew the bag.

“Obviously defensively,” A-Rod said when asked about where the Yankees have to be at their best in the ALCS, which starts Friday.

The Rangers ranked fifth in the AL with 123 stolen bases and then had six in the ALDS. That’s six more than the Twins even attempted in the three games against the Yankees.

“I think that Tampa and Texas both run the bases similarly,” Nick Swisher said. “Both teams like to take the extra base and if they get the opportunity they’re going to do that. So I think as an outfielder, for us we’re all very aware of that situation.”

In Texas’ three-game sweep last month, the Rangers stole five bases, twice went from first to third on hits and scored a run when Ian Kinsler tagged up on a fly ball to right after going from first to third on consecutive outs.

The Rangers stole two bases in the teams’ two-gamer in August, but Michael Young was their only base-stealer when they were swept at Yankee Stadium.

“We can win a bunch of different ways,” Josh Hamilton said.