• I Hate Bunting

    Posted by on May 19th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    I would just like to point out that in 98% of baseball situations, I hate hate hate bunting.

    Here is when you can bunt…in my opinion anyway.

    1. If you are a pitcher.
    2. If you are a really, really bad position player batting ninth with good players following you.
    3. If you are really, really fast and basically bunting for a hit.

    And that’s about it.

    I know that last night in the bottom of the ninth inning down by 1, with a man on second, zero outs, and Francisco Cervelli (and not Jeter, or Teixeira, or Arod, or Cano, or Posada, or or or) at the plate, it is a “textbook” bunting situation, but as I was watching it happen, I was thinking ‘this probably won’t work.’

    It wasn’t so much that I disagreed with Cervelli bunting, so much as I had zero faith in Miranda or Winn to get a fly ball so Cano could tag up.  That basically meant that if Thames couldn’t drive in the run, then no one was driving in the run.

    Thames took the walk.  The Yankees did not score.

    If you can’t trust the players following the bunt to get the fly ball, then the bunter (one who happens to currently be batting near .400) should swing away himself.  I’m sure; however, that if you were to ask Girardi about it, he would say that he did expect Miranda and/or Winn to come through.

    Now perhaps Francisco Cervelli wouldn’t have driven in Cano, but I would rather he try for a sac fly to get Cano to third so that the possibility of a hit is greater than just giving the out away.

    This is all especially true when you factor in that Cervelli has been absolutely on fire lately, and that Papelbon has been struggling against the Yankees (at least in the immediate past).

    And don’t get me started on one Derek Jeter and his fabulous habit of bunting in the first inning…though at least he hasn’t done that since moving to leadoff.

    Comments on I Hate Bunting

    1. Zach
      May 19th, 2010 | 7:05 pm

      Also…guess who leads MLB in batting with runners in scoring position (minimum 15 at-bats)? Granted, it’s a very small sample size, but this person is 11 for 17 with 15 RBI. ESPN had shown the stats earlier in the day and I was screaming (mentally) at Joe Girardi.

      You’re absolutely right in saying that it’s the “textbook” play, but did anyone think Thames, Miranda, or Winn were going to win the game? I figured Papelbon would K Thames and Miranda, or intentionally walk Thames to set up the DP (he did end up getting a groundball from Miranda).

      Why not take the risk? Cervilli’s earned the right to swing in big situations. He really doesn’t K that many times (8K’s in 64 AB), so at worst he’ll hit a ground ball.

    2. 77yankees
      May 19th, 2010 | 7:08 pm

      I’d throw in a 4th conditional one there: If you’re tied in extra innings & have a man on first with none out, and a ground ball hitter/double play threat at the plate who at least has a clue about bunting.

      In that instance I’d take my chance with man on 2nd & one out rather than risk a DP giving you none on and two out.

    3. Joseph M
      May 19th, 2010 | 7:28 pm

      I’m not a big fan of bunting either, that said, I have no problem the way it was used last night. At some point Cervelli is going to come crashing to earth and go 3 for 40. What would you have said if Cervelli popped up and the next guy hit a fly to deep center.

    4. Jeteupthemiddle Allie
      May 19th, 2010 | 8:13 pm

      It isn’t so much about getting an out, it is about just giving the out away and not even trying to get a hit.

      Obviously Cervelli is going to come to a crashing halt. I will eat my hat if he bats anywhere close to .400, and would probably eat my hat if he bats anywhere close to .320, but at the moment he is a hot player, and I don’t think it is wrong to ride the hot hand.

      And as I’ve previously stated, I am very ok with riding the hot hand when the players behind him include Miranda and Winn.

    5. ken
      May 19th, 2010 | 10:26 pm

      Outs are too precious to waste. Especially in that situation. Even though the runner advances a base, Pap Smear gets to relax just a bit knowing that there is one out, not none.

      I don’t buy into everything about Moneyball, but not bunting and giving away outs is something I do believe in.

    6. BOHAN
      May 21st, 2010 | 11:37 am

      how could you prefer a sac fly there and not a bunt. on a fly ball all they have to do is catch the ball. where with a bunt they have to pick it up and throw to first. theres a greater chance of cervelli gettin on on a bunt then a simple fly ball. it was the right move.

    7. Jeteupthemiddle Allie
      May 21st, 2010 | 7:24 pm

      I prefer the sac fly because I feel that with a sac fly, the batter is at least trying for a hit, and it just didn’t work out.

      I don’t want the player going up there saying “oh, I’m gonna hit a sac fly now.” I want a player trying to drive the ball to the outfield, and if he can’t, at least he got a sac fly out of the deal.

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