Controlling the Running Game
By Seth Simmons
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Most people think, especially for righties, that controlling the running game means you’re quick to the plate. There are multiple ways to slow good base runners down and they all should be incorporated in controlling guys on base. If you only have a good move, or are only really quick to the plate, a good base runner will figure out a way to time you up and steal a base. Why do we care about keeping guys from stealing? Not only does it keep the team out of scoring position and keeps forces in play, it also allows the pitcher to keep his pace on the mound and not the offenses. Stolen bases speed up the game on the defense.
Holds are a good way to slow the good base runners down when they are trying to get into scoring positions. Not only does varying your holds when you come set help with steals but it also helps with slowing a good jump down. If you’re come set, one look, and pitch… the runner can time that and with out having to steal get a better jump. Having multiple holds of one second, or two seconds, or even up to five seconds will cause the runners feet to get heavy and anxious.
Having multiple variations of looks and pick off moves can really shut the running game down, especially if you can vary your holds as well. Not always showing your good move can be an asset to you later on in the game. Having multiple moves to first and to second keeps hitters guessing. For example, for a righty picking off to first, having really quick feet and a slower arm can fool the runner for your next pick off which might be same foot turn and a quicker arm. At second having a jump turn, inside move, step off move, and an exaggerated inside move will help you pick more guys off and keep them from speeding up the game.