BOSTON — Quintin Berry made Boston’s American League Championship Series roster — like he did its ALDS roster — in case a base needs to be stolen late in a game like Dave Roberts’ famous steal in 2004.
Berry has been successful in all 24 career regular-season stolen base attempts as a major leaguer, the fourth longest streak to begin a career in the expansion era (since 1961). The last longer streak to begin a career was by Red Sox teammate Jacoby Ellsbury (25 straight successful steals).
The Red Sox hope to use their speed in the ALCS against Detroit the same way they did against the Rays in the ALDS when they not only stole six bases (4 for Ellsbury, 1 for Berry, 1 for Shane Victorino) but also used their quickness to break up double plays and go first to third on singles.
Berry entered Game 1 last night 27 for 27 in stolen base attempts, including postseason.
“He’s smart,” Berry’s former teammate, Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson said. “Speed is one thing but I think he just has the base running intelligence, too. It’s not like he’s out there just running. Getting the chance to talk to him — the things he looks for when he’s stealing is crazy sometimes.
“One time he told me he was watching the pitcher’s breaths,” Jackson added. “I was like, ‘Man, that’s what you’re looking for? I’m over here looking at the knee or the first move.’ That’s why I think he’s really good on the base paths. The jumps that he gets are one thing, but the things he looks for to get that good jump is unbelievable. It’s crazy.”
And what about Ellsbury? He’s pretty good, too, huh? The Sox leadoff hitter entered Game 1 having been successful on nine of 10 stolen base attempts during his postseason career.