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Baseball Strategies

One of the fun parts of baseball is second guessing strategies. In our loss on Tuesday against the Indians, in the 9th inning with us up by a run, we started the inning with Scott Rolen guarding the line (I'd imagine Lyle Overbay was guarding the first base line). Teams do that to try to stop extra base hits from going down the lines. I don't like the move with no one out because there are far more singles that could be stopped with the 3B playing normal than there are doubles down the line. That's the reason why the third basemen plays most the game in his normal spot.

Anyway in that game, the lead off hitter hits a roller right to where Rolen would normally play, if he hadn't been guarding the line it is an easy out and the inning plays out different. 

I like the idea of playing the line play more with 2 outs because a single with two out isn't as big a deal, you'd only have one out to play with to get the runner home.

The rest of the inning was interesting/depressing. The 'old school' theory says you go for the win not the tie when you are on the road. The idea is that if you are at home in the 9th inning or extra innings if you tie the game you are will get another change to bat. On the road, if you tie, the other team just has to score 1 run in their half to win. So the bunt wasn't really an old school move.

That is where the game went bad. Indians bunt, Overbay gets to the ball with lots of time to make the play at second. Overbay 99 time out of a 100 makes that play. In reality there is little reason to take a chance on that play, the lead runner was just the tying run, keeping the bunter off the bases was more important. But, Lyle really wasn't taking a big change, it wasn't a hard play to make, he just sailed the throw. And suddenly the tying run is at third and the winning run is in scoring position.

After that, the intentional walk. I've never been a fan of this move, but it might have been the right one here, it just didn't work out. The idea behind the intentional walk is that you get a force at every base on a ground ball. The down side is that a walk scores a run. So the pitcher doesn't have room for error, if he misses with a pitch or two he has to groove one down the middle. In this case they got one force at the plate, then Scott Down left a 0-2 pitch right over the heart of the plate and that gave the Indians the lead.

Close games are fun cause there are lots of moments for second guessing. Earlier in the game, Millar hits a lead off double. Some think the next guy should bunt. I don't, Millar is as slow as baseball player can be, without a perfect bunt he's out at 3rd. But the neat thing about baseball is you never know, sometimes the wrong move works (99 times out of 100 Overbay makes that throw) and sometimes the right move fails. It is the fun of the game. Maybe not that particular game, that game wasn't fun. But most games.