The Ole Ball Game

when bases are loaded?

by pg
(oceanside california)

PG asked: Bases are loaded. Do I bring in my corners or middle infielders?

Rick answered: PG, thank you for your question.

Bases loaded defensive adjustments are all based on the game situation at the time.

There are two options, you can play your middle infielders back, or at double play depth and bring your corners in, or you can bring all infielders up.

There would never be a situation where you would want to play your corners back and bring your middle infielders up.

Factors to take into consideration:

  • Is it early in the game, or late? Generally speaking, earlier in the game you would be more inclined to play double play depth up the middle, in the hope you could avoid a big inning early. Later in the game, it becomes more critical to limit your opponents runs.

  • What is the score? Are you ahead, or behind? Defensively if you are ahead, if the winning or tying run(s) are in scoring position, they are crucial. To cut down that winning or tying run from third base, you need to have your entire infield up, and hope you get a ground ball you can go to the plate with.

    If you are ahead by 2 or 3, you may want to keep your middle infielders at double play depth, in the hope of being able to get a double play, and that depth provides you better coverage of the ground. Your corners are going to the plate, in the hopes of turning a double play there; but making sure of the first out.

    Anytime you pull your entire infield up, you generally add about .150 points to the hitter's batting average, due to the amount of space now created between your infielders and outfielders.

    The Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series in the bottom of the 9th, seventh game, in just that situation. They got the bases loaded, with less than 2 outs, Mariano Rivera threw that cutter at Louis Gonzalez and jammed him with it; but Gonzalez got enough of it to pop it up into short left field, just beyond the infield dirt. Run scored, game and series over. If they didn't need to have the infield up, that ball would have been caught for the second out and who knows how it would have turned out, but the Yankees had no choice in that situation.

    The second picture above is Louis Gonzalez celebrating on his way to first base, as that pop fly softly settled in the grass behind shortstop.

    • All the above is with less than 2 outs. Once you get two outs, you can back your infield up, they have a force at any base at that point.

      So much action and strategy, for both teams, had gone on preceding Gonzalez's at bat. Those situations are what make baseball the great game it is.

      Good luck to you as you move forward.

      Yours in baseball,


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