Assuming a one run lead and no one on base: what is the defense's best chance of preventing anyone reaching second base?
Therefore: what are the offense's odds of hitting a double ... vs. ... the odds of stringing singles together; or of a single and an extra base hit; or of a single and a walk or a HBP; or of a single and an error during a second batted ball; or of a single and a batted out which advances the runner; or of a single plus an advance to second base via: error during the original hit, stolen base, passed ball, wild pitch, balk, error during a pick off attempt?
It seems logical these odds would change when one out is made, then change again when a second out is made. However, if odds with two outs dictate guarding more strongly against a double: why not guard the line and deepen the outfielders - throughout the game - during each situation in which you have two outs and no runners? Should - throughout the game - defenders play far off the foul lines when none are out; then move a bit towards the foul lines when one is out; then move a bit more towards the foul lines when two are out? Should outfielders play shallow with none out, a bit deeper with one out, and a bit deeper still with two out?
There's a good chance a sabermetrician has studied this issue. Maybe Google can help me ............................................... hmm: I've temporarily struck out. I did find this interesting article, which posits that runners should try to take extra bases far far far more often than they do - especially when two are out and the runner is trying to take home plate. Exceptions:
- when none are out and the runner is trying to take home plate,
- when two are out and the runner is trying to take third.
Base coaches and runners should continue being careful during those situations.