The Ole Ball Game

A single to center field,runner on first,each player has a specific assignment, where does the pichter need to be?

by greyson
(thomas)

Defensive situation, runner on first, basehit to center.

Defensive situation, runner on first, basehit to center.

Greyson asked: A single to center field,runner on first,each player has a specific assignment, where does the pitcher need to be?


Rick answered: Greyson, thank you for your question.

As you look at the diagram above, the pitcher has backup responsibilities behind third base, which if the ball is fielded cleanly is where the outfielder will be throwing the ball to.

The shortstop is the cutoff man for the throw, the centerfielder is throwing the ball to third, through the cutoff man's head, so that if the ball is offline, or will be too late for a play at third, the shortstop is able to cut the ball off, which keeps the batter/runner from going to second.

Pitchers quite often make the mistake of not getting deep enough behind the base being thrown to. If they stop short of the fence, or backstop, in the case of a play at home, they run the risk that a bad throw gets by them to the fence, advancing the runners.

To get deep enough requires that the pitcher sprint into his backup position.

It is also essential that the pitcher look to see the angle from the outfield that the throw is coming from, so he gets himself lined up with the throw.

The third baseman is yelling to the shortstop so he is aligned, the pitcher is on his own to get himself in line.

Your initial hope is that you are able to throw the runner out at third, and keep the batter/runner at first. If the cutoff throw is down so that the shortstop can cut it, the batter/runner will likely not try to go to second on the throw. If the ball is thrown over the shortstops head, the batter/runner will just keep on going.

If there is no out at third and the batter/runner ends up at second, the defense now has 2 runners in scoring position, and has lost the ability to turn a groundball into a double play with the next batter.

Yours in baseball,

Rick





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