CHICAGO -- Stolen bases. It wasn't the reason the Marlins lost to the Cubs Saturday, but it could become a real problem the Fish have to face all season. So far, the Marlins simply haven't been doing a good job stopping opposing teams from moving into scoring position with their speed.
Saturday, catcher Ronny Paulino got lit up in his second consecutive start, allowing three Cubs to steal second base. It was the same story when he was behind the plate Thursday. The only reason Paulino was able to catch a base stealer Saturday -- and end his personal streak at six -- was because Joey Gathright slid past second.
This season, Paulino has been one of the worst at catching potential base stealers in baseball and so are the Marlins, who are second-worst in the NL to San Diego (26). So far, opponents have been able to steal 21 bases while getting caught just five times. Paulino has been burned for most of them, throwing out just three in 19 attempts. John Baker has caught two of the seven potential base stealers who have run on him.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez, however, didn't put much of the blame on his catchers when I asked him about it Saturday. "We got to do a better job holding runners as a pitching staff," Gonzalez said. "We've got guys who are a little slower to the plate and we're addressing that. You don't want to give away bases."
And for what it's worth -- for all the talk about the Marlins' speed -- the Fish are actually middle of the road when it comes stealing bases themselves. Florida has stolen 13 bases and been caught six times.