Baseball Magazine

Pitching with a Runner on Third Base

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Here’s a tip for pitchers who find themselves with a runner on third base. 
Be sure to look at the runner prior to starting your delivery to home plate.

Pitching with a runner on third base

Be sure to look at this guy at third BEFORE you
start your delivery to home plate.
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Especially from the wind-up.  Here’s why.  Occasionally, the runner on third base will either tip off that a squeeze play is on or a steal of home might occur.  Once you start your wind-up you cannot stop so if the runner does do something early, it’s too late for a pitcher to do much about it once he’s begun.  The correct thing for a pitcher to do is to get the pitch sign from the catcher and then look at the runner on third base.  If nothing is out of the ordinary, the pitcher proceeds with his delivery.  If the pitcher notices something unusual, he can just step off the rubber and address it.  Some runners dance off the bag to try to get the pitcher to balk.  This doesn’t happen if the pitcher just waits for the runner to stop before starting the wind-up.  
All of this applies to a pitcher in the stretch position as well.  A pitcher can get the sign and come set, look at the runner, see if everything is ok, then proceed.
A pitcher runs into problems when he is so concerned about delivering the pitch that he forgets to check the runner.  You might be surprised at how many pitchers check the runner after starting their delivery.  By then it's too late.  
The pitcher has lots of power because not much happens until he decides to start.  Take your time and use that power to your advantage with a runner on third base.

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