Making a perfect play.

By Obnoxious John | May 23, 2011

If you follow the Mariners have you noticed they seem a different team than the last few seasons?

I don't know the difference between the current field boss and his last 6 predecessors. Those predecessors were; Bob Melvin, Mike Hargrove, John McLaren, Jim Riggleman, Don Wakamatsu and Darren Brown. 

But I know this much. They are hustling on the basepaths, getting superior pitching from both starters and relievers and slowly, ever so slowly, improving the offense.

This is in direct contrast to the last several seasons when the team seemed simply to be going through the motions. 

Players going from first to third and/or trying to score from second on a single makes for an exciting game to watch. The theory behind playing aggressive baseball isn't complicated or hard to understand. Being aggressive on the basepaths forces the defense to hurry and make perfect plays. Of course sometimes the defense does just that. But on average taking the extra base or trying to score from second on a single almost always pays dividends. 

In both my examples the defense must tag the runner to secure the out. A throw from right or right center to third has to be perfect to get the runner. Given all the variables in a play like this, running make perfect sense. 

Consider all the factors; how hard the ball is hit, if the fielder has postioned himself properly for the throw before he recieves the ball, if he does indeed recieve the ball and not boot it, if he makes a strong throw, if he makes a strong accurate throw, if he makes a strong accurate throw the third baseman doesn't have to move to catch, if the third baseman fields the throw cleanly, if the third baseman blocks the base correctly and makes the tag then the runner will be out.

Repeat the same steps, more or less, for the runner going from second to home.

Any minor deviation from this sequence results in a runner on third base or a runner who scores. The percentages in playing aggressive baseball are clearly in favor of the offense. 

Having solid pitching certainly lends itself to this philosophy as the offense knows that only 2 or 3 runs can be enough to win the game. 

There is one other factor in all of this and it comes from the game of golf. When you are close the green and want to get the ball as close to the cup as possible it's often best to use your Wedge. It seems that is what the M's are doing this year.

Now get out there and take one for the team!

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