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Playoff Physics



In the short period of time I got to watch the Dodgers/ Cubs game before I started working on my physics, I noticed a strange game plan that the Dodger base runners were employing against Cubs lefty pitcher Jon Lester.  After a four pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the first, Dodgers player Enrique Hernandez started to bounce back and forth and side to side as he was taking his lead from first, trying to distract Jon Lester from his task of pitching.  To people who aren't familiar with the game, a left handed pitcher is oriented on the mound so his body faces first base.  This means whenever he is looking forward, he always will see the base runner.  Usually, a base runner keeps a low, explosive stance to aid him in reacting in a moments notice to anything that my happen on the field.  In Lester's case, the runners tonight moved in every direction possible to distract Lester.  The runners knew that he is a pitcher who doesn't like to try and pick people off so they took advantage of that by getting huge leads and trying to get into his head.  Personally, I do not think this strategy is beneficial for one main reason.  If Lester decides to pick off at the right moment, he can catch the base runner with all of his momentum heading away from the base, the runner will have to apply a huge force to totally reverse his motion and dive back to the bag.  This split second of decelerating, stopping, accelerating and then even decelerating again due to the friction of the dirt as he slides into the bag, gives Lester ample time to deliver even a mediocre throw that will nail the runner.  This chance is a huge one to take, especially for a team up against one of the best pitchers on the best team in baseball.  If LA wants to win tonight and take a 3-2 lead in the series, they will have to be smarter on the bases.  


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