Baseball Magazine

Don’t Run into a Tag – Part 2

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

In YESTERDAY’S POST I talked about a double play situation where the runner should do all that he can to induce more throws by

Get the force then get the second out on the rundown

Option 3: Get the force then get the second out on the rundown

the defense.  Today’s post expands on that issue by explaining what the second baseman should do in this situation to maximize his ability to get two outs.
  Let’s say, as mentioned in the previous post, the runner correctly stops in the base path to avoid being tagged by the second baseman.  In this situation, the second baseman has three options.

Option #1: He can ignore the runner and throw to second base to start the double play as normal.  This option is fine if the ground ball is hit hard enough where the normal path to the double play (4-6-3) is doable.  However, on a slow ground ball, the ball is less likely to beat the runner at first base for the second out.

Option #2: He can chase the runner who stopped in the base path, tag him, and then throw to first base.  This may work if the runner stopped close enough to the second baseman when he caught the grounder.  However, if he has to chase him back too much in order to tag him, the chances of getting both runners out go down.

Option #3:  He can take a step towards the stopped runner as if he is going to chase him.  This almost always gets the runner to take at least one step back towards first base.  When he does, the second baseman can immediately throw to first to get the first out.  The runner who stopped is now caught between first and second base.  The defense can now get the second out in the ensuing rundown.

In my opinion, on a slow roller where the runner stops to avoid the tag, Option #3 is the best one to take.  The defense is almost assured to get one out on the play and probably will get the second as well if all goes well in the rundown. 
Of course, this is why defenses need to master the rundown process as well.  Check out this post HERE for that lesson.

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