"You Be the Coach"

The Situation - "Frye's Instructions"

Boston Red Sox versus the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards

The score is tied 2-2. There is one out in the top of the eighth inning.

Jeff Frye is on third base and Nomar Garciaparra is on first base. John Valentin is the hitter with a count of 3-2. Mo Vaughn is on deck. Nomar is running on the pitch and Valentin hits a hard ground ball (two-hopper) to shortstop Mike Bordick.

The Question

You be the coach. What do you tell Jeff Frye before the ball is hit and what are you doing after the ball is in play?

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

Here's WK's answer:

I would remind Jeff to get a good lead and to go on contact. Nomar, by running on the pitch, should be able to take out Roberto Alomar at second base on a double play attempt allowing Frye to score easily. You are taking a little chance because if Bordick is alert that Nomar is running on the pitch, then he may try to get Frye at the plate. If Frye, who is a fast runner, gets a good jump, he should still score easily.

This situation has a lot of turns and twists, but I would still send the runner. If the Orioles do get Frye at the plate, you still have Nomar in scoring position and Valentin at first with Mr. Mo Vaughn coming to the plate.

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

"I send Frye on contact. Bordick is an excellent fielder, but if he goes to second and gets two (a big if, but possible on a hard hit grounder with Valentin's average speed), the inning is over. If he comes home and nails Frye, you have two runners on and two outs. If the throw beats Frye by a lot, he could attempt to get in a rundown and the other runners could end up on second and third after Frye is tagged out. A bad throw or a great slide during the rundown and Frye still scores. It's a tough call, but I send him."

Tom Daly - Pittsfield, MA

"What I tell Frye depends on the setup of the defense. I tell him that if the infield is back, he goes on a ground ball to anywhere, but the pitcher. If the corners are in, Jeff goes if the ball is hit anywhere, but the pitcher and the corners. I would guess that the defense would be at the double play depth and Frye would be safe to go on ground balls hit to second or short, but he must see it through anywhere else."

Dave McWhinnie

"I send Frye as soon as he sees the ball on the ground. Bordick's going to try and turn the DP, but let's give him a choice of trying to throw out Frye at home leaving Nomar in scoring position with Vaughn coming up. Bordick, a very reliable shortstop, has to worry about Nomar running and breaking up the DP. If Frye runs and Bordick tries to turn the DP and fails, then the Sox have a 3-2 lead in the eighth at first place Baltimore. If you don't send him and the DP is broken up, you're still tied."

Mike Giandrea - Boston College

"After reminding Frye to take his lead in foul territory (do you have to tell major leaguers that?) and to tag on any fly ball, I would tell him to be running on contact on any ground ball. Bordick, the slick fielding shortstop from Auburn, ME, will undoubtedly field the two-hopper and throw to second (even with Nomar's speed) to start the inning-ending double play. However, if the ball is misplayed at all, Frye will score the go-ahead run. If Bordick elects to throw home to nail Frye, you have kept the inning alive for Vaughn with an opportunity for some more late-inning heroics. After the ball is in play, I would be watching to see what play Bordick makes and direct my attention to Nomar if Mike should boot the ball or decide to throw to first or to home. Maybe Nomar can move over to third on the play."

John G. Bernard

"I would be telling Frye before the ball is hit to make sure that the ball makes it through the infield before going. With only one out and Mo on deck, you don't want the play made at home on an infield hit. After the ball is hit, I would still hold him. With Nomar going, the Orioles won't have time to turn a double play. If you send Frye, then the throw could go home. If not, the throw will go to first and there will be runners on second and third for Mo with two outs."

Derek W. Miles

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 "Frye's Instructions".

Updated August 19, 1997