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Dodgers on the run?

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The Dodgers will try to stave off a sweep at the hands of the Padres on Sunday afternoon, but my pregame thoughts turn to the running game before the series finale at Petco Park.

This is thanks to a question I received on Twitter overnight:

The answer is May 9, against Steven Matz of the Mets. The Dodgers stole two bases in that game - Howie Kendrick stole second, and Charlie Culberson stole third. That was 13 games ago.

In the 12 games since, the Dodgers have tried twice to steal bases. Chase Utley was caught stealing second last Sunday against St. Louis, and Corey Seager was nabbed on Friday night by San Diego. The Dodgers are 29th in MLB in both stolen bases (nine) and attempts (17) this season, with only the Orioles (five steals in 10 attempts) worse.

Maybe that can turn around on Sunday against Padres starter Colin Rea, who has allowed eight steals in nine attempts in his 45 innings this season. Among National League pitchers, only Noah Syndergaard (14) and Jimmy Nelson (nine) have allowed more steals this year.

The Dodgers' lack of steals is almost entirely personnel related, though having a below-average offense and .311 team on-base percentage hasn't helped.

There is more to running the bases than just steals. The club has taken the extra base — scoring from second on a single, scoring from first on a double, going from first to third on a single — 37 percent of the time this year, just under the 40-percent mark in the National League.

But it doesn't necessarily mean the Dodgers have been a bad base running team this year. In fact, they are ranked seventh in baseball with 1.5 base running runs added, per Baseball Prospectus. The folks at BP break it down even further to show just how that is broken down.

Essentially the Dodgers are below average in stealing bases and advancing on hits. But they have excelled on the bases in advancing on outs — both on the ground and in the air — and on things like wild pitches, passed balls and balks.

This was most evident on Thursday in the first inning in Anaheim, when Chase Utley led off the game with a single against the Angels, then advanced on a wild pitch and a ground out, then scored on another wild pitch.

Game info

Time: 1:40 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA