There is a certain way to pitch when your team has built a lead, especially a big lead. Walking guys is never a good idea, but through the course of a game, walks will happen. When pitching with a lead, walks can be damaging because they could potentially allow your opponent back in the game.
You must control and attack the strike zone with a large lead. You cannot continually fall behind in the count as a result of throwing balls. Hitters may not be as aggressive when their team is behind, and you can take advantage of this by getting ahead in the count. Doing so will allow you to take control of the at bat while increasing your chances of success.
Do not mistake my advice as an invitation to lose your focus. Each hitter should still be looked at as a threat to getting on base and the start of a big inning. You can’t simply throw fastballs down the middle of the plate. The hitters are still competitive and are still trying to get on base. However, you should slightly shift your focus.
With a big lead, your concern is simply to get outs. If a run or two scores, it is not a big deal. You should gladly trade runs for outs. But what you have to avoid is a big inning. If I were the coach of the opposition, I would tell my team to chip away at the lead.
If we were down by eight runs, I would tell my team to try to cut the lead in half and make it a four-run deficit. If we could do that I would be happy, assuming we still had additional at bats.
Preventing the big inning by getting ahead in the count, and staying aggressive and making your opponent put the ball in play is the key to pitching with a large lead.
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