Certain to be among the major themes in the ALDS are the Angels’ aggressiveness and superiority on the basepaths. Perennially among the league leaders in steals, the team placed third in 2009, behind Tampa Bay and Texas with 148 thefts.

Anaheim will be sure to remind the Sox who’s boss every time their runners take first base. One of the fastest teams in the league, their lineup features multiple skilled runners.

Chone Figgins leads the pack with 42 steals on the year, followed by Bobby Abreu at 30. Torii Hunter (18), Erick Aybar (14), Maicer Izturis (13), and Howie Kendrick (11) all cracked double digits in the steals column.

Their bench also features quality pinch runners, including outfielder Reggie Willits, who nabbed 27 bases in 2007, along with 16 in 372 plate appearances between AAA and the MLB this season.

Further compounding the problem is the Sox’ pathetic performance against the run. Jason Varitek has thrown out just 16 of 124 attempted runners this season, good for a 12.6 % caught stealing rate. Victor Martinez has fared about the same, with a 9 for 65 tally, good for a paltry 13.8 CS %.

While speculative problems are bad enough, the Angels have already proven their advantage over the Sox’ battery mates in ‘09. Through nine matchups during the regular season, the Angels have managed to steal 16 bases, while being caught just once.

Figgins has been the primary agitator, with six thefts, followed by Abreu with four.

Luckily for the Sox catchers, Tim Wakefield will not take the found, as the Angels stole five of those sixteen off the veteran between two starts.

Still, the steals game is not just a one-way street, as the Sox are quick on the basepaths as well, placing fifth in the MLB with 126 SBs.

While the majority of bags were swiped by Jacoby Ellsbury (70), both Dustin Pedroia (20), and Jason Bay (13) are quality steals options – and Anaheim’s catchers aren’t a whole lot better than Boston’s at controlling the running game. Primary catcher Mike Napoli has thrown out just 22.1 % of runners this season (21 of 95 CS), while Jeff Mathis complements his awful bat with a poor arm, throwing out just 25.7 % of runners (18 of 70 CS).

Ellsbury will have his way with these Anaheim catchers, as will Pedroia when he picks his spots.

Not the rosiest of scenarios, though a little more balanced than at first glance, the Red Sox will have to slow the game down with plenty of throws over to first while varying the timings on their delivery. However, with the way the matchup has played out so far in ’09, don’t hold your breath. Expect Anaheim to steal at will, with Boston rushing to catch up.