Coming into the National League Championship Series, there was all kinds of reporting on the speed of the Arizona Diamondbacks and how they would make an aggressive mess of the basepaths. There was so much of this pre-series chatter that we included it as one of the key storylines to watch before Game 1.
And then? Nothing.
After two games in this NLCS, the Philadelphia Phillies have a commanding 2-0 lead, outscoring the Diamondbacks 15-3. The kids from the desert looked scared to run, at least the few times they've managed to get on base.
Diamondbacks' manager Torey Lovullo expressed the frustration his team has felt so far this series.
"Yesterday (Game 2) was a really frustrating outcome. We didn't perform up to our capabilities, didn't meet our expectations, so we gotta find a way to get this thing turned around," Lovullo said. "We gotta just play our best game tomorrow and see where that takes us."
Their best game includes stealing bases. That was in their DNA all season, finishing second with 166 swiped bags. The ringleader on the bases was rookie Corbin Carroll, who amassed an impressive 54 steals.
Phillies limiting Diamondbacks' base stealing opportunities
So far, the Diamondbacks and the speedy Carroll haven't even made a single attempt. Carroll led off both games in this series by getting on base, with a bloop single in Game 1 and on a Trea Turner fielding error in Game 2, but remained firmly anchored to first base while his teammates went down in order.
And therein lies a big problem for the Diamondbacks. It's hard to steal if you're not getting on base. With Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola pitching gems, Arizona baserunners have been few and far between.
And when they have reached base, Phillies pitchers have been highly conscious of the running game. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have a Gold Glove catcher geared up behind the plate in J.T. Realmuto as the main line of defense against the aggressive chaos the Diamondbacks have been known for this season.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Phillies manager Rob Thomson explained that things have gone to plan for his team.
"I told the guys at the start of the series if we take care of the baseball defensively and don't give them free passes, you are going to be able to kill some of the chaos that they create because they're really good at that," Thompson said.
"Running, bunting, taking extra bases, tagging up at first base on fly balls to the outfield, that kind of thing. They take advantage of mistakes, and you have to eliminate that."
Phillies playing their style of baseball, Diamondbacks trying to find theirs
To be fair, the Phillies, who finished seventh in the regular season with 141 stolen bases and ran all over the Braves in the NLDS, haven't exactly been tearing up the basepaths either, with just one successful steal in two attempts. The difference is that the slugging Phillies haven't needed to run. Instead, they've smashed six home runs and six doubles to power their offense.
Lovullo made it clear that back at home, in front of their fans at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks intend to play their game.
"We are a very resilient, adaptable team," Lovullo said. "We give an incredible effort for nine innings, and we feel like that's a really good recipe for us to come out and be focused enough and maintain our competitive focus to go out and execute the way we need to.
"We know that one good moment, one good inning, one good pitch, one good at-bat could turn this quickly."
How about one good stolen base?