In last night’s game, in the second inning, with the good guys already up 2-0, our number 8 (Kevin Pillar) and number 9 (Ezequiel Carrera) started off the inning with back-to-back singles, and up comes our leadoff hitter (Devon Travis), and he bunts.
Travis, the guy hitting .308, best number on the team, the guy we moved to the top of the order because he was the only guy hitting, back at the start of September, he’s the one we ask to bunt. I mean, if we were going to ask someone to bunt in that little sequence wouldn’t it be Carrera, who has hit .156 in the second half of the season?
Anyway, Travis bunts. Josh Donaldson takes a walk and Edwin takes a walk, to score a run. Jose Baustita ground into a double play, and we come out of the inning with a run. So I guess the bunt worked, as it is a one-run strategy, and we got one run.
"Right then I thought, ‘You know what? We’re up two, let’s try to put the wood to them a little bit and get something happening. After Dev’s first attempt, he clutched up and got that big one down. It’s definitely a misconception that I’m anti-bunt, that’s for damn sure. There are certain times you need it and I figured at this point of the season, in that particular situation, turn it over to the big boys coming up, our RBI guys."
But......putting the ‘wood to them’ wouldn’t be playing for a run in the second inning, would it? It would be trying to score three and putting the game out of reach, right? But I digress.
Zaun, in his between innings bit, said he liked the play because ‘it moved two players into scoring position’. Well no, it moved one guy into scoring position. one guy was already there.
It does kind of remind me of Cito getting roasted for not using the bunt, so for about 2 weeks, he bunted at least one a game, generally in the wrong spots. He really didn’t like the bunt and he never gave much thought about when to use it, but he got his back up about being criticized for not using it, so he decided ‘I’ll show you’.
I do think there are times when sac bunts are useful. Late in games, when you need 1 run to win or tie, it can be a useful thing. Maybe with Josh Thole up.
But, in the second inning, up by 2, against a pitcher who is just throwing meatballs up there? We loaded the bases in the first inning. Our first two batters single in the second? We should be looking to put the game away right there and then, not be think ‘let’s score one more’. To me, in that spot, the bunt is letting him off the hook.
And, if we are wanting to bunt, in that particular sequence, wouldn’t the right move be to bunt with Ezequiel, the rather weak hitter, and move Pillar into scoring position for Travis and Donaldson?
That’s the problem with these stretches when the offense isn’t doing the job, the manager starts thinking he’s gotta do something/anything, and he starts doing it. We get bunts or hit and runs in weird spots.
Anyway, we won by 9 (which kind of shows why a bunt early is a silly idea, we don’t know if that one run is going to be important) so it doesn’t matter in the end.