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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fangraphs - The Orioles and Holding Runners On: Showalter’s Gambit

More daring than the Ruy Lopez or the Caro-Kann Defense!

The Baltimore manager has his first baseman, Chris Davis, playing a few steps off the bag when holding runners. Not just the slow-of-foot — all runners, all the time. The situation doesn’t matter. According to Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne, the practice began in spring training and has been in place for every game since the start of the season. [...]

Something else Showalter said — and what he wouldn’t say — is where the gamesmanship comes into play. “You create some unknown in the runners mind,” he admitted cagily.

Showalter took pains not to elaborate, but the psychology behind the strategy seems apparent. Much like Joe Maddon’s shifts can create questions in a hitter’s mind, not being held on in a standard fashion puts runners in unfamiliar territory. Can they afford to take a bigger lead? Pitchers can still throw over, which they’ve done this year without incident. If runners can get a jump, are they willing to challenge Matt Wieters‘ arm? The Gold Glove catcher has nabbed four out of five runners attempting to steal so far this season. Asked if Wieters’ defensive ability plays a big role in his strategy, Showalter withheld comment.

Esoteric Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:05 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baltimore, orioles

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   1. deputydrew Posted: April 11, 2013 at 06:12 PM (#4411158)
No idea if this is good or bad, but it's always good to see someone experimenting and breaking from the standard practice. I'm intrigued and will likely find myself watching more O's games on MLB.tv than I would have otherwise.

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