Bottom of the 5th, you’re down by 4 runs and your #3 hitter is up. Ever wonder if you’re calling the right plays from the 3rd base coaching box? What factors do you need to consider when you’re trying to decide what to do?
Learn the important keys to making the right Offensive Strategy decisions from the Knowns, to the Unknowns and all the vital keys in between.
Making the right strategy move involves considering all the known options and making the best decision, all of which happen before the play. Whether the play actually works or not should not be a major part of your evaluation process. You might have made the perfect strategy decision but the other team simply executed better so your play didn’t work – that doesn’t mean your strategy wasn’t sound.
Let’s take the situation mentioned above – bottom of the 5th, we’re down by 4 runs, our 3rd hitter is up, and we have runners on 1st and 3rd base – and let’s see what things we know and how we can figure out the best Strategy move to make.
When trying to figure out your Offensive Strategy first start with all the things you KNOW about the situation. So for instance, in our situation it’s the bottom of the 5th, we’re batting, we’re behind by 4 runs, our 3rd hitter is up, and we have runners on 1st and 3rd base.
So these are our Knowns:
- – Bottom of the 5th
- – We’re behind by 4 runs
- – We have R’s at 1st and 3rd
- – 1 out (we 8 more outs left to score 4 runs)
- – Our #3 hitter up (hitting .500 on the weekend)
- – Our #4 hitter (hitting .800 on weekend)
Our Possible Options include:
- We steal the runner at 1st base
- We let the number 3 & 4 hitters hit
- We try something else?
From this list of Knowns we can then come up with Things we Need to Consider:
- We only have 8 outs left
- We’re down by 4 runs
- We need both runners (1st & 3rd) to score this inning
- We need to score as many runs with our 3 & 4 hitters as possible
- If not, we’ll have to do it in our last 2 innings with our 5,6,7,8,9 hitters
The final list is the things we Need to Know before making our final strategy decision:
- How well our 5 and 6 hitters hit with runners on base?
- Can our pitcher make sure they don’t score any more runs?
- Do we have a better chance of scoring runs off the pitcher they have in the game NOW (instead of the one warming up in the bullpen)?
While this might all sound like a lot of information to have to gather right on the spot, try to figure out as much of it as possible along the way as the situation develops (instead of trying to know it all at once). For instance, you’ll no doubt already have a good idea how good your pitcher is in this game or how good their pitcher is.
Final Decision:But, given the fact that we need to score at least 4 runs to tie the game with only 8 outs remaining and the best part of our lineup up, I would let my 3rd and 4th hitters hit away instead of calling for a steal. The reason is:
- The steal puts me in a possible inning-ending out situation
- It also puts us in a situation to have our 3rd hitter walked.
- I would rather have my 3rd hitter have a chance to score one or both runners and then possibly give my 4th hitter the chance to score more as well.
- Even though the rest of our lineup might be good, they aren’t better than 3 & 4 so I want to score what I can while I can.
If you’re interested in improving your offensive strategy thought-process then check out our eClinic:
Plus we’ve got some great Defensive Strategy eClinics:
Our Strategy Book is also a great resource regarding all of your Offensive and Defensive Strategy Decisions and Critical decision making factors!