Recipe for winning Playoff baseball

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Do pitching and defense really win championships?  Obviously the dish tastes best when all the ingredients are there, but let’s ask the question which ingredients are the most crucial.  

Ingredients

4 starting pitchers that can go deep into games
8 defenders always make the routine play
9 hitters that put pressure on the defense
1 fearless closer

Directions

Defense.  On a baseball diamond combine the 4 starting pitchers that can take you deep into a game and 8 defenders that take care of the routine play. “Pitching and defense wins championships” is a quote often heard all around a baseball field and in my opinion very true. In 20 postseason games up to this point 9 of 10 starting pitchers that have lasted more than one inning longer than their counterpart on the mound, that team has won the game.

It’s important to blend the 8 defenders that take care of the routine baseball plays carefully on the field. In this postseason only 6 wins out of 20 went to the team with the most errors. Just these first two directions make pitching and defense seem extremely important when it comes to important games.

Offense.  Take your 9 hitters and it is important to play team baseball putting pressure on the defense.  At times like this, situational hitting is extremely important. Your team is facing their stud pitchers and its not easy to score runs off them.

Cutting down the strikeouts is big because as you get deeper into the playoffs, the pressure turns up. Strikeouts relieve the pressure for the defense. Even routine plays can be more difficult to complete in October baseball. Putting more balls in play will give your team a better chance to get the clutch hit that seems every World Series team needs at one point during their playoff run.

The Icing on the Cake.  After everything is mixed together use your 1 fearless closer. Getting the last 3 outs of a ball game are always the most difficult. When you combine fearlessness, with great stuff, coolness under pressure, and a short memory (not to bask in the glory or get down because of a defeat) your team has a great chance at the end of a game. When the closer takes to the mound, this is where the stadium gets the loudest and the pressure is the highest. A proven quality closer is an essential ingredient to make this recipe great.

Now lets revisit the question…

Do pitching and defense really win championships?  Obviously the dish tastes best when all the ingredients are there, but let’s ask the question which ingredients are the most crucial.

Conclusion:  Hitting is important – we all know you need to score more than the other team to win the game.  But it’s the other things that make the offense much more manageable. If your starter can take you into the 7th inning and your defense plays flawlessly, your offense only may need to score one or two runs instead of 7. This will put much less pressure on the hitters. This has been the recipe for successful playoff teams in the past and will continue to be what teams need to win in October.

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About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar für db

    How true Doug; you called it. Look at this year’s playoffs,from the divisional and league championships to the Giants sweeping the Tigers to win it all. Just like you said, outstanding defensive plays (infield and outfield). Outstanding pitching and timely hitting, that pretty much sums it up. Another terrific article. Thanks Doug, db

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