Give your 3rd base coach a chance (part 2)
Scoring from first base on a base hit is no easy task. Royals fans were quite happy when Lorenzo Cain did just that to help get his team to the World Series. As soon as I saw him score I thought of a post I had written back in June, 2012.
I’ve said many times that the best base runners are often not the fastest. They are smart, they take good angles around the bases, they know the situation, and they know where the outfielders are playing and how good their arms are. In this case, Cain also knew the tendencies of Jose Bautista on similar hit balls down the right field line.
If the ball is down the right field line, the runner going to third cannot see the ball behind him. He will rely on his third base coach to tell him what to do. But all of this prior knowledge and advanced scouting doesn’t matter a lick unless he gives his 3rd base coach a chance to score him. Below is the original post from June, 2012 where I explained what that means.
Often a base runner will make the mistake of assuming the 3rd base coach is going to stop him at 3rd base. This happens a lot with a runner on 1st and the batter hits one down the left field (or right field) line. Even fast runners sometimes assume right from the crack of the bat that the play will result in a 2nd and 3rd or 1st and 3rd situation. When this occurs, the runner on 1st naturally does not shift into high gear when running. As a result, the coach must stop him at 3rd. Don’t make this mistake.
As a runner on 1st, right from the crack of the bat, you have to assume the 3rd base coach will be sending you. He may or he may not but if you assume he will, you are at least giving him a chance to send you.