Why Bunting is Stupid
By Scott Andes
Oh bunting, how I hate thee, let me count the ways….One….two…..three…. and that is how many outs we were making last night. Bunting is stupid. If you have been reading my articles you should know by now that I absolutely loathe the bunt. It’s the most stupid play in Baseball. I hate it more than a blown game in the ninth inning, more than the risky running on contacts play, and more than TOOTBLANs. Bunting is just stupid, and Eric Stephens of TrueBluela perfectly explains why.www.truebluela.com/2012/5/8/3008958/don-mattingly-bunting-matt-kemp-andre-ethier
Of course Dodgers Manager Don Buntingly has a different point of view. Instead of sucking it up and just admitting he made not one but two bad calls, he defends his foolish moves. I am talking about Buntingly’s decision to bunt not once, but twice, destroying two different scoring rallies.
Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
With the Dodgers trailing 2-1 last night in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Dodgers put two on with none out at first and second. Juan Rivera and James Loney lead off with consecutive singles. Up comes Juan Uribe our number seven hitter. So Buntingly has Uribe try and sacrifice the runners over to second and third. This is stupid because Uribe never ever Bunts. He doesn’t know how to do it properly, so asking someone to lay down a sacrifice who has done this as many times as I can count on one hand over the last decade, then you can expect the outcome won’t end well. It didn’t. Uribe laid down a botched bunt, with the ball falling right in front of the plate, and all Giants catcher Buster Posey had to do was pick it up and fire to third to get the lead runner, and then because Uribe is so slow they were able to throw him out at first base for a double play. This is what happens when you bunt people. Stupid stuff happens. Yes the play at first base was close, and maybe Uribe beat the throw, but that’s not the point.
The point is it ruined a scoring rally. Now instead of two on and none out and three chances to get a hit, now there is two outs, a runner at second, and the rally essentially erased. Sure if Uribe had been successful, it still would have been second and third with one out and only two chances to get a hit. Again you are robbing yourself of an opportunity to get a hit.
So I guess that first time can be forgiven, I guess. I mean since it was the bottom of the order and Uribe does suck in general, but it was the next inning that really got my goat.
In the bottom of the eighth. Bobby Abreu draws a walk. Dee Gordon tries to bunt, and ends up getting on base with a bunt hit. This was only because of his great speed, and the Giants defense is horrendous. Ok fine, I’ll take it, but no more bunting. This is where I wanted to throw my shoe through my tv. Mark Ellis, our number two batter is asked to bunt. Now he does it correctly, and moves the runners over to second and third. However as Eric notes in his piece, it essentially takes the bat out of Matt Kemp’s hand, and we do not want to do that.
With first base open, the Giants intentionally walk Bison to load the bases and take their chances with Ethier. Now no disrespect to Ethier, but I knew exactly what Bruce Bochy and the Giants were doing. You walk Bison, and then bring in a lefty to pitch to Ethier, preferably one that is tough on lefties and adept at getting ground balls. That is just what he did.
Enter lefty Javier Lopez. With Jeremy Affeldt disabled, Lopez is the lone lefty in the Giants pen that I know of. I looked at the numbers, and Ethier was 1 for 6 against Lopez- small sample size I know. Lopez came in with an ERA under 2.00, but he is very good at inducing ground balls. Whenever batters hit a ground ball against Lopez, they are hitting .199 .199! That is incredible. Not to mention the .226 career average and .630 OPS left handed batters put up against him. Of course Ethier hit into a double play, and that was that. The Dodgers didn’t score at all in either inning, and they lost the game by a run.
Photo from Truebluela
So what Buntingly did was take the bat out of the hands of our number two and number three hitters with our best hitter being walked intentionally. If it were up to me, I would let the hitters swing away. I would rather them go down swinging, even if they hit into double plays then giving away outs. What that means is that Buntingly would rather have the number four and five hitters, (Ethier and Loney) up with only two chances to get a hit then our number two, three, and four hitters up with none out and three chances to get a hit. (Ellis, Kemp, and Ethier). As you can see it only shoots us in the foot. It is like conceding the rally. A forfeiture if you will.
When interviewed after the game about the buntfest, Don Buntingly’s (yes I am going to be calling Don, Buntingly for the rest of this week, because he has earned that ignominious nickname) answers were both frustrating and confusing. He had this to say when asked if he would make the same calls….
"“I wouldn’t really change anything. We just have to execute, that’s all,” Mattingly said. “First and second nobody out we have to try to get runners over and get them in scoring position. With Mark [Ellis], I do it all the time.”"
Really Donnie? Come on now. However it was this statement that truly infuriated me. Read it carefully because it is this comment that is very frightening…
"“I’m still giving two guys a chance, but I don’t even need a hit. I just need to get a ball in the air,” Mattingly said. “I have two guys that are basically leading the league in RBI and they have to take their pick.”Now ignore the stupid RBI comment, and take a look at what he said before that. “I just need a fly ball”"
Right there lies the disconnect. A fly ball. He was playing for one run. He wasn’t even playing for a run, he was playing for a sacrifice fly, an out. Our manager was paying for an out. Think about that for a second.
It’s foolish. Either he has no confidence in his lineup, or he is just foolish. Maybe both? Because someone should tell Buntingly that you CAN score more than one run during a late rally at home, if you would just let your hitters swing away. The thing is, bunting is dumb. Bunting is just giving away an out. You’re only reducing your chances of getting a hit from either three to two, or two to one, depending on the situation and how many outs there are. The ONLY guys who should be bunting are the pitchers, and you do not want to ever take the bat out of Matt Kemp’s hands via bunt, no matter who is on deck or what the “stupid things managers do rulebook” says. Just let your hitters swing away. This is why I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in Don Buntingly’s managing abilities, because he pulls crap like this. Playing for a sac fly out is very very stupid.
It is even more dumb to try and play for a sac fly tie, because of how shaky the bullpen has been of late. So that is my point. Bunting is giving away an out. Look at this way, did we score at all? No. Did we win? No. Lesson learned here is that nothing good can come of bunting, so stop doing it. Ok, Donnie? Knock it off. Got it? Stop it! Just stop it!