Runners on the Corners

You’ve got a tie score, bottom of the eight. You’re sent in becuase your man is spent. Your’re a RH pitcher with a 4 seam with good movement, a curveball, a so-so slider, a sinker, and an off-speed that hasn’t been your favorite lately. You’ve just come off a four (4) days rest and you’re feeling sharp and ready.

Here’s what left for you to deal with:

Your facing batter #2, a RH batter who eats sinkers. He’s been on base all through the game. Good contact hitter, not known for the bunt. He prefers an open stance, holds the bat up very high and dips his leading shoulder downward. He’s hit shallow center and shallow left field every time regardless if the pitch was down and in or down and away.

Batter #8 in the order stole second and third, and made both by a very slim margin - but he’s there. Batter # 9, got hit by a pitch, so now he’s on first. Batter #1 went down swinging, so at least you have one out.

From all the scouting reports batter number #8 in the order has a pretty good record for stolen bases as well as being “plug’d” in the batting order. Also, Batter #9 is the pitcher, not noted for being swift on the bases, but, he can take advantage of a mistake if you and your fielders let him.

During the game thus far, you haven’t seen batter #8 do his thing much - except for his last display. But, batter #9 has struck out, every time at bat, so you don’t know what he can do.

You’ve trusted this catcher all season with his judgement, but you also know that this guy has been down in the dirt for 8 long, hard fought innings. Lucky for you, you’re also a regular visitor on LTP - so, you’re a thinking guy as well.

Just before you make contact with the rubber:

  • Should you go into your set position, or the windup?

Suppose you go with the set position, then make contact with the rubber - and just before you stare in and get a signal, you then notice the runner on first is taking a huge lead - about 15 feet or a little more. You glance over to third and that base runner is also creeping down the line about 15 feet.

What are your options? What’s going through your head?

If you’ve drilled on this situation - speed at third, a creeper at first, what would you have focused on?

Coach B.

OOPS! Forgot to mentioned your bullpen duty accounted for the following:
The fastball family of pitches* usually clocks at the 87-92 range.
The other pitches** usually clocks at the 70-82 range.

Fastball 4 seam
Strike % Where
85% high outside
90% low outside
90% high inside
95% low inside

95% outside
95% inside

Strike% Where
65% R to L
40% backdoor R-L

Srtrike% Where
70% zone R-L
70% baiting/chaser

50% zoned
60% baiting/chaser/se-up

May I chime in?
When I had to relieve in the late innings I often faced a situation like this—one out, runners on first and third or the bases loaded, and the runner on third was a speed demon who would steal your shoes if you didn’t watch out. Sometimes the score was tied; other times I would be protecting a one-run lead. As I saw it, the primary objective was to keep that runner on third from scoring.
So I would go into the full windup. Being I used a modified slide-step and worked fast, I was watching that runner on third. Like a hawk. If that guy took a step too far, I would fire to third base, and as often as not the guy couldn’t get back in time. In a runners-on-first-and-third situation, if the guy on first wanted to steal second, let him have the base if he wanted it so much. Depending on the situation, I might give the batter four wide ones, let him take first base, and have the infield go to double-play depth. In this situation, we could do several things—a 1-2-3 double play, for example, and when this is done well it’s as nifty a DP as one could wish for. Or, with nobody on second base and the runner on first a slowpoke, I might go for the strike-him out-throw-him-out doubleplay, as my catcher had a very strong and accurate arm. Or even a pop-up! There would be two out, and as we all know a run cannot score on an out. In any case, the important thing is to keep that runner on third from scoring. :slight_smile:

Who is the on deck batter?

[size=24]YOU[/size] :bigthink:

If I see both of them get a lead like that I’d maybe give 'em the old fake to third routine, make sure the runner on third knows you’re paying attention and see if you can catch the runner at first napping.

If that fails at least the runners are thinking twice about trying anything fast. Pitches need to be breaking balls down and fastballs inside to either get a pop-up or a double play ball.

i would start it out in the full wind up position and stand there for my 12 seconds without moving. just to confuse everybody. then i would get in the wind up and deliver super quick to the plate a fastball down and too far away as a pitch out that sets the eyes of the batter to a low part of the strike zone. i’m now 1-0 runners on bases are taking average lead since they dont know how to time me still. next pitch is fastball up and away, seeing the guy dips his shoulder like you said, i feel like he cant catch up to my fastball after having to set up his body before even thinking about swinging. if my pitch is good then whatever the result, i feel like ive done what i had to do. if he fouls it off to the right side and back, i throw him one with an average delivery time that is too far away about same height. best possible situation would be a swing and a miss or an other foul to the right (where i would come back curveball down and in and ground him out/strike him out.) but lets say he looks. now im 2-1, i fake a throw to third, a very useless play but i dont look at first, i listen though, my teamates will let me know if the runner is gone on first otherwise, i get back there and fake i dont pay attention to the runner on first. next thing i throw my best pick off at first. if i dont get him, i go to the plate with a slide step curveball down and away ground him out double play if everything is going well.

I’d go for the pick off at first. If he’s that far off and you make a good throw, its basically a free out and gets you to two outs and makes the whole situation a lot easier since now the sac fly is out of the equation.

I’m going set and holding the ball til someone calls time. I do this so I can freeze the runners and see if I can’t get somebody to tip something. The guy is contact and popped up twice, I’m changing his eye plain and likely pitching him backwards to induce another short pop or grounder on a poor bat strike working for two (As I got slow at first). If I get ahead I’m locating where I can use that shoulder dip to get me a pop up…my bet is breaking stuff, working in. Of course as a lefty I’d likely be pitching some funk at that back leg and get me a one hopper to short for a routine dp.