"You Be the Coach"

The Situation - "Hit and Run Dilemma"

New York Yankees versus Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park

The score is 5-4 with New York leading in the bottom of the seventh inning. There is nobody out, Darren Bragg is on first base, and Jeff Frye is at the plate.

On a 1-0 count, Jimy Williams gives you the hit and run sign. You relay the sign to Frye and Bragg. As he is supposed to, Bragg takes off on the next pitch and Frye, swinging away according to instruction, hits a hard line-drive about six feet high towards the second baseman, Mariano Duncan. The ball is about three to four feet to Duncan's left. Bragg is now looking at you in the third base coaching area for direction.

The Question

You be the Coach. What will you tell Darren and how will you tell him? Give me your reasons.

Here's WK's answer:

You should be waving your arm which is telling Bragg to keep coming to third base. Why? Even if Duncan catches the ball, Darren cannot get back to first base in time. If you stop him and the line drive goes into right field, he probably won't be able to make it to third base safely. A hit and run play is a gamble and the baserunner and base coach are throwing caution to the wind in a move to be more aggressive. If the hit and run was not called, Bragg would have to be more careful and make sure the line drive gets through.

Here are some good answers from various coaches on the internet.

"I would be circling my arms like a madman, signaling Bragg to come to third base. If Duncan catches the ball, Bragg is a dead out at first base anyway, so I take the chance and hope that I'll have a first and third situation with nobody out. It's highly unlikely that the Yankees right fielder will throw Bragg out at third because of the long throw (especially if the it's O'Neill or Strawberry whose arms are not what they used to be)."

Chip Yamaguchi

"In this situation, I'd be waving Bragg to third and praying that Duncan doesn't make the catch. Duncan is six feet tall and catches with his left hand. That means that the six foot line drive which is three to four feet to his left is a catchable ball for Duncan. He might not even have to leave his feet to make the play. Bragg is already going on the hit and run and probably wouldn't have time to stop and go back to first base. If Duncan catches it, it's an easy double play. If for some reason, Duncan doesn't make the play, you've got runners on first and third with nobody out."

Ed Hirsch

"When the manager gave the hit and run sign with Bragg on first, you lost the option of getting Bragg back to the bag. While normally he might be watching for a liner to get through the infield, he cannot in this situation. Even with an average lead, the fact that Bragg was moving with the pitch eliminated any chance he has of getting back to first on anything less than a fly ball. As the third base coach, the only option you have is to wave him around to third hoping the ball gets by Duncan."

Ed Stemple

"I would give the sign (right arm doing circles) to Bragg to run around second and come in to third base. As the ball is hit toward right field, it would probably take a pretty good throw to get Bragg out. Even if Bragg is thrown out, Frye would probably be able to continue on to second base on the throw. You then have a runner in scoring position with only one out."

Normand Girouard

"Send Bragg and hope that Duncan doesn't catch it (however unlikely). Since Bragg is already moving toward second (and is not a speed demon), his odds of getting back to first are slim after Duncan catches the ball. You are only down one run and there are still two plus innings to get that back."

Michael Hazen

Thanks for answering my situation.

Good luck until next time!

All my best,


That's it for "Hit and Run Dilemma".

Updated July 10, 1997