Price talks about contact play
Reds manager Bryan Price said during Spring Training there would be more aggressive base running and while it’s paid off at times, there have also been consequences in the form of outs. One that has certainly stood out is that the Reds lead the National League with 11 runners thrown out at the plate in non-force out situations. No one else in the league has more than six.
Price explained his thoughts expansively about on running on contact with a runner at third base.
“When we’re trying to be aggressive, there are certain challenges with going on contact on the ground and going on contact in the middle,” Price said. “Quite often when you’re going on contact on the ground, you want to certainly make sure the ball is past the pitcher but trying to make decision and hesitate if it’s hit to the third baseman — to his glove hand. Is he going to leave his feet to make a play? That split-second decision at times is extremely challenging to make and it’s hard to put it in the hands of the base runner. It’s a lot easier to say ‘this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to go on ground ball contact here.’ When it doesn’t work out, it certainly doesn’t look good.”
Price believes the club’s current circumstances — trouble scoring and many injuries — have forced them to be more daring and use the contact play more often.
“Certainly, you’d like to do it with guys that have a little more foot speed but sometimes, it’s based on where you are in the lineup,” Price said. “In our situation a lot of times, we’ve had runners on second and third so the worst case scenario is you’re at first and third with another out. A lot of it is how your two-out hitting is and if you’re scoring runs. If you’re not scoring runs, the risk factor goes up. If you have a lot of guys swinging the bat well at the same time, you don’t have to take those same amount of risks. We’ve had a lot of guys thrown out at the plate this year. It doesn’t seem to me, until we get on track and until we get completely healthy, that we can be a station-to-station team. It doesn’t seem to work. That’s why we’ve run more, why we’ve been stealing more bases and more active with the hit and run and the contact play with runners at third with the infield in.”