Why Hold The Runner

If there are two outs in an inning, why should the pitcher focus on the runner at first at all? What is the likelihood that he steals three bases? Also, doesn’t this pose a distraction and possibly cause the pitcher to lose focus on the batter? Also, isn’t the gap that is created between second and first a defensive liability? Do the throws over to first cause the pitcher to tire out sooner?

With two outs and a runner on first, the threat of him scoring is significantly less than with the runner on second. A single through the gap with a runner on second should allow him to score. Every run counts, and every little edge towards shutting the other team down counts as well.

Its not the fact that they are going to steal 3 bases but once a person gets on second base there a lot more ways to score. Now runners can score on a soft single, anything in the gap(s) as well balks and wild pitches now put the runner at 3rd base.

If you are on first, its hard for a runner to score on a routine single, it has to be something in the gap or hit hard. Simply put there is just a lot more ways to score from 2nd than from first, hence why National League teams have pitchers bunt with runners on first less than 2 outs!

RTusk40,

Hope you have a great season this year for Harrisburg and I’ll be looking for any appearances in Erie.

…and in the National League there are quite a few good-hitting pitchers who can, and will, bunt for the base hit and not for the sacrifice.
My wise and wonderful pitching coach spent a whole Sunday morning working with me on holding runners on. He had told me that my job was to do that and not use up a lot of energy on pickoff moves, and we practiced—first with phantom runners and then later on with live ones in the course of a PFP workout. We started with something easy—like a “bump on a log”, a runner who wasn’t going anywhere—and worked all the way up to the definite threat to steal. All kinds of runners, all bases. But in the course of events he taught me a devastating snap-throw which became a very good pickoff move for me (I was a natural, honest-to-gosh sidearmer who used the slide-step all the time), and I didn’t use up a lot of energy. When I saw that the runner was taking too big a lead…GOT HEEEEM!
Most of the time anybody who managed to get on base against me was left stranded. :slight_smile:

[quote=“Dino”]RTusk40,

Hope you have a great season this year for Harrisburg and I’ll be looking for any appearances in Erie.[/quote]

I should be in AAA this year to start with a legit shot to make it I believe! But thank you!! :slight_smile:

Congrats!! Are you sure you won’t miss those early morning bus rides on the PA Interstates and the Turnpike?

Best of Luck! I guess I be seeing you at PNC Park some day. I’ll be the guy with the LETSTALKPITCHING T-Shirt.

:twisted:

With two out and a runner at first base, I have the first baseman play just behind the runner and about a half step closer to the bag than what you want the pitcher to give the runner for a lead.

The cut of the grass is about 13’ from the foul line, so about one full shuffle toward the line from the cut of the grass. Of course not all fields are cut at 13’ so you have to make sure you are only giving out 9-10’ of lead.

From this position, if the pitcher wants to throw over, you can still get there ahead of the runner, and you are close enough to your normal positioning. When the throw goes to the plate, it’s only a small adjustment to get into a more desirable fielding position.

If the runner tries to stretch the lead, going to the bag from that position will get the pitcher’s attention for a throw over.

The problem with not holding him at all, is that if he has any wheels at all, he’ll take second and be in position to score if the batter gets a hit.

Congrats!! Are you sure you won’t miss those early morning bus rides on the PA Interstates and the Turnpike?

Best of Luck! I guess I be seeing you at PNC Park some day. I’ll be the guy with the LETSTALKPITCHING T-Shirt.

:twisted:[/quote]

Those bus rides are always great

daveid66,

Where problems happen, is there’s a balance that needs to be reached between the advantage of not letting the runner get to 2nd, and the disadvantage of the pitcher not paying enough attention to the primary problem, the guy with the stick in his hand.

A lot depends on the experience and skills of the pitcher. The more likely the pitcher will get the batter out, the less important the runner moving to 2nd.

The number of outs shouldn’t really matter. With a runner on first the first baseman needs to hold the runner and the pitcher needs to give him a look.

By allowing a runner to get into scoring position, IMO is never a good thing. Too many things can happen allowing that runner to score.

[quote=“Turn 22”]The number of outs shouldn’t really matter. With a runner on first the first baseman needs to hold the runner and the pitcher needs to give him a look.

By allowing a runner to get into scoring position, IMO is never a good thing. Too many things can happen allowing that runner to score.[/quote]

I’m not so sure “NEVER” is correct. To me everything needs to be considered and priorities have to be determined. I can’t say how many pitchers I’ve seen allow the runner(s) to draw more focus than the hitter, then get bit by making pitches that aren’t executed as well as they could be. IMHO, the batter has to always be the #1 priority.

A runner at first is probably not going to score on a single. At second the runner’s chances of scoring on a single increase a good bit. If the runner is at first or second, the pitcher needs to pay attention to him. Why then would allowing a runner to take second ever be a good thing, except in cases of defensive indifference, when that runner means nothing.

Who said allowing a runner to take any base be GOOD thing? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m trying to make the point that no matter what is going on, the batter should always be the 1st priority, not that the runners should be ignored.

Think about it this way. Looking at the Linear Weights table, http://www.tangotiger.net/RE9902event.html, what’s more likely, a runner scoring or getting the batter out? Once the batter is put out, does it make things better or worse as far as a runner scoring?

Using that as a base, its my belief that when pitchers concentrate less on getting the batter, they’re unwittingly increasing the likelihood that the runners will score.