How to Win Close Baseball Games with Good Coaching
Good coaches have a knack for winning close baseball games. The trick is often using seldom-used offensive plays early in games. Choosing the best time to try these is important, but when they do not work, coaches often get the blame for losing the game.
Baseball coaches often can sense when games are going to be low scoring, or close games, because of the pitching match-ups, or just by the way the game is going. One key move in those close baseball games can make the difference and good coaches win close baseball games by trying a few seldom-used offensive plays. It is not a bad idea to try one of these offensive plays early in games that coaches have a sense will remain tight, because they have a greater element of surprise going for them earlier in a game. Additionally, late in games it hurts more, when the play does not work, as it is more noticeable then and coaches should not run their team out of an inning with the game on the line.
As with all offensive plays in baseball, coaches must practice these so that players execute them correctly, especially as they are not offensive plays employed that often. It gives baseball coaches great pleasure to pull these off, especially when it determines the outcome of games.
Seldom used offensive plays to win close baseball games
- Delayed steal – the delayed steal, when the runner on first breaks for second after the catcher receives the pitch, is a good way to get a runner into scoring position, especially when coaches do not want to bunt them over or when it is a non-base stealer on base. Coaches should keep an eye on the middle infielders after each pitch with a runner on first base to see how they react immediately after the pitch crosses home plate, with no swing on the pitch. When the middle infielders seem to drop their heads and not pay attention to the runner after the pitch, the delayed steal is a good call. The delayed steal is best with at least one out in the inning. The element of surprise often leads to a ball thrown into center field, too, which is an added bonus of getting the runner all the way to third base.
- Bunt and run – the bunt and run, when the runner on first breaks with the pitch, as with stealing second base, but with the intention of keep running to third if the ball is bunted towards the third baseman. Defensive teams often forget to cover third after the throw to first on this play and it is tough to make two long throws for this play, third to first, and then the opposite. Of course, it requires a fast base runner on first to pull this play off.
- The suicide or safety squeeze – when teams get a runner to third base in a game where the coach feels it will be a tight one, using the suicide squeeze, when the runner from third breaks with the pitch and the batter bunts the ball, is a surprise play that is good, especially when the batter is a week one and the following batters are the same. The safety squeeze, when the batter first puts the bunt down and the runner on third reads the play before attempting to score is also good, but requires an intelligent runner at third.
Of course, other offensive plays are possible to win close baseball games
- Steal of third with one out – as the batter pretends to bunt but pulls the bat back, the runner on second steals third if the third baseman charges hard towards home.
- Steal of base with the throw back to the pitcher – some catchers lob the ball back to the pitcher or do not pay attention to the base runner after catching the pitch, so base runners may have the opportunity to steal a base to get into scoring position at that time.
- The fake steal of home plate – this fake steal of home, where the runner takes a few all out steps towards home as the pitcher begins their delivery, may lead to a balk and a run.
As mentioned, good baseball coaches watch for those opportunities to get that one extra run, be it early or late in games, which help them to win close baseball games.