Baseball Magazine

Base Running with Two Outs

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
I have always told my players that base running should be the easiest part of the game.  In no way am I implying that base running is less important than the other facets of the game though.  Many games can swing one way or the other simply because of good or bad base running.  I have written a few posts strictly on base running and this is another one. Tips for running the bases when there are two outs is what we'll deal with today.

Base running with two outs

Smart, aggressive base running with two
outs can be a huge boost for any offense.

Score on a ball in the gap.  This tip applies to all runners who find themselves at first base when there are two outs.  Whether a runner is slow, fast, or anything in between, he should always have it in his head that if a ball is hit in the gap, he is going to score.  With two outs, a third base coach is more likely to take a chance and send a runner home when he comes around third.  Any runner who assumes the coach is going to stop him is going to hesitate and/or slow down and will probably be out at home plate.  Right when the ball is hit, the runner should say to himself, “I’m scoring!”  This will help him get a better jump and have him continue to run as fast as he can around the bases.
Deeper lead off second.  If a runner is on second base with two outs, his lead needs to be a little different than if there were less than two outs.  On a base hit, a runner on second is more likely going to be sent home to score.  Because of this, with two outs, the runner should take a lead that will enable him to have a better chance of scoring.   This involves the runner taking a lead so that he is about 4-5 feet behind the base path.  When the ball is hit, the runner will run parallel to the base line (4-5 feet away) until they get close to third base.  The runner then is able to make a sharp left to touch the bag and head towards home plate.  If the runner ran towards third base directly on the base line, he would either have to make a loop in order to round third or run too far into foul territory on the way towards home.  Both of these options slow the runner down.
Don’t run into a tag.  With two outs, you always want the fielder to throw the ball in order to get the third out.  A runner who allows himself to get tagged for the third out on the way to a bag is breaking one of the cardinal sins of base running.  If a runner is approaching a fielder who is about to catch a ground ball, he should stop with the hope that the fielder will just throw the ball to first base.  Even if the runner gets caught in a run down, the defense will usually have to make several throws to get the final out.  Don’t make it easy on the defense by allowing a fielder to just tag you as you go by.  Make them get the final out by throwing the ball.
Go on the swing/strike.  With two strikes and two outs, all runners on base should start to run after their secondary lead when they see one or both of the following: the hitter starts his swing and/or the pitch is heading towards the strike zone.  If runners can do this, they will be able to get a slightly better jump on a batted ball.  Of course, this requires the runners to watch the batter and/or the flight of the pitch as it’s thrown.  This is not simple to do and requires some experience but the best base runners do it.Keep on going to second.  This involves the batter/runner who has hit a base hit and the outfielder is coming up throwing to get a runner who is trying to score.  With two outs, if a batter/runner sees that there will be a play at the plate, he should continue running straight to second base.  One of three things can happen as a result.  1) the runner trying to score is out and the inning is over,  2) the runner at home is safe and the batter/runner is now in scoring position because he continued to second base, or 3) the ball is cutoff and the defense now has the batter/runner in a rundown between first and second.  This is fine since this usually allows the runner to score before the third out is made.  Of course, there are always exceptions to this.  If the offensive team is down by a lot of runs than the batter/runner may have to play it a little safer by staying at first base.Keep on going home.  This involves a runner on second base.  On a ground ball that is fielded and thrown to first base, the runner who was on second should round third hard and continue to home plate.  This is in case the batter/runner is safe at first base.  If he does end up safe at first, many times that runner who aggressively rounded third will score.  Once again, the score will sometimes dictate how aggressive a runner should be on this play.

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