Reds Brewers Baseball

Cincinnati’s Elly De La Cruz steals second base against the Brewers in a recent game. The Reds have stolen 107 bases this season. Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

Cincinnati’s Elly De La Cruz understands how much of a distraction he causes to opposing pitchers whenever he gets on base.

“It seems like they get a little bit nervous right there when I go out there,” De La Cruz, who has a major league-leading 37 steals, said through a translator.

With De La Cruz leading the way, the Reds are stealing bases at a rate unseen over the last three decades. And the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals are right on their heels.

No team this century has stolen more than 200 bases in a single season (the 2007 New York Mets had exactly 200). The Reds, Brewers and Nationals are all on pace to blow past that mark as they capitalize on rule changes put in place last year to help spur the running game.

Cincinnati has 107 steals through its first 74 games and is on pace for 234. That would represent the highest total for any team since the 1992 Brewers had 256, according to Sportradar.

The NL Central-leading Brewers have 104 steals through 75 games and the Nationals 101 through 74 games. That puts the Brewers on pace for at least 224 and the Nationals on track for 221. No team has finished a season with over 201 steals since the 1993 Montreal Expos had 228.


“As the saying goes, speed never slumps,” Brewers outfielder Blake Perkins said. “It’s always something we’ve got in our back pocket.”

Major League Baseball increased the size of the bases from 15 square inches to 18 square inches last year and ruled pitchers could only disengage from the rubber to call timeout or attempt a pickoff throw twice per plate appearance.

Those rule changes led to 3,503 stolen bases last year – the highest total since 1987 and a 41% increase over 2022 – plus an MLB-record success rate of over 80%. The success rate has dropped to 78.4% this year, but MLB teams had combined for 1,653 steals through Thursday – 70 more than there were at this date last year.

YANKEES: New York shuffled its bullpen after losing consecutive series to AL East rivals Boston and Baltimore, bringing up right-handers Phil Bickford and Yoendrys Gómez, cutting left-hander Victor González and demoting right-hander Ron Marinaccio.

New York used its bullpen for 7 2/3 innings in Thursday’s 17-5 loss to the Orioles and for six innings in Wednesday’s 7-6 defeat. The Yankees’ pitching staff entered Friday’s series opener against Atlanta with a 4.59 ERA in June, up from a major league-best 2.37 in May.

“A big thing was the numbers game. Just, obviously, we’re leaning on the ‘pen heavily the last two days, so needed some coverage down there,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “And talk about certain things to shake up and pay attention.”


Second baseman Gleyber Torres was out of the starting lineup after leaving Thursday’s game because of right groin tightness. Boone said an MRI was negative and Torres likely will be available over the weekend.


METS 11, CUBS 1: J.D. Martinez, Francisco Alvarez and Brandon Nimmo homered against Shota Imanaga, and New York Mets pounded the Cubs in Chicago.

Francisco Lindor had three hits and scored twice as New York won for the eighth time in nine games. Jose Iglesias went 4 for 5 with three RBI.

The Mets became the first team to get a second look at Imanaga (7-2) during his impressive transition to the major leagues, and they tagged the Japanese left-hander for 10 runs and 11 hits in three-plus innings. Imanaga pitched seven innings of three-hit ball in a 1-0 victory at New York on May 1.


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