"You Be the Coach"

The Situation - "The Ball in the Corner"

Boston Red Sox versus the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium

The score is 2-1 with Detroit leading. There are two outs in the top of the ninth inning.

It has been a pitching duel between Boston RHP Tom Gordon and Detroit RHP Willie Blair. Detroit closer Todd Jones has just got two quick outs before Nomar Garciaparra lines the first pitch to him for a single up the middle. The next hitter, Darren Bragg, has worked the count to 3-2. On the full count pitch, Nomar takes off for second base and Bragg hits a line drive down the left field line just past third baseman Travis Fryman. The leftfielder, Curtis Pride, is playing deep and straight away. Nomar is just getting to third base when Pride is throwing the ball to the cut-off man, shortstop Orlando Miller, who is about 200 feet from home with his back to the plate.

The Question

You be the coach. Should you send Nomar home in this situation? Take into account the following information:

Tell me what you would do and give me your reasons.

Here's WK's answer:

I would send Garciaparra in this situation. Most of the factors listed above point to the probability that Nomar will be safe at home. By taking into account all this information before the play, you can make a decision that will have a high probability of success. I call this my "gut feeling", but it is based on the facts at hand.

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

"I would keep Nomar going. With the wet field and two arms which are at or below average, Nomar's speed is going to give you a better than 50/50 chance that he will score. If he is out, the game is over, but even if Frye's (or any potential pinch hitter's) batting average is .350, you still have a better success ratio in sending Nomar.than counting on a two out hit."

The Brighams

"Send him. Detroit has to do four things right to get Nomar, a very fast runner, at the plate.

Some other things to consider:

Glenn Peabody

"I would send the runner for several reasons:

Coach Gulledge / Anna-Jonesboro HS

"Send him. On a rainy day in someone else's ballpark with two outs and a chance to tie, I wouldn't wait for a better chance. It sounds like Miller was way too far out in left field to make a good throw to the plate. With his back to the plate and a wet surface beneath him, he would have to turn and fire a perfect strike to the plate for any chance to gun Nomar down. The odds are in the runner's favor and he will probably score."

William Nash

"The key here is that there are two outs and it's a one run game. Without a doubt, send the runner! There is probably a 50/50 chance he will be thrown out. However, if you play it safe and keep the runner at third, you then only have a 33% chance that he will score via a hit, error, passed ball, or wild pitch. If there was one out or less, then you should be more cautious and hold the runner at third. You would also hold the runner if you were trailing by more than one run because Nomar's run would not tie the game."

Jack and Karyn Kyle

Thanks for answering my situation. Be sure to include your name and where you are from with each response.

Good luck until next time!

All my best,


That's it for "The Ball in the Corner".

Updated July 30, 1997