The F&%#ing Bunt

There I was, listening to the ninth inning and writing up a quick post before getting back to work, when the rally happened.  Down 10-5 entering the bottom of the ninth, the result of Joba’s lousy work and continued through Gaudin’s subpar relief effort, it started with JD’s single, then two consecutive walks from Teixeira and A-Rod loaded the bases with no outs and Matsui coming up.  Francisco had entered for Grilli to face A-Rod and looked shaky.  GLG entered the kitchen and sat down–always a good sign and, earlier in the game, her passing through the kitchen to the phone in the back room portended good things, for it coincided with Jorge’s two-run homer to make it 4-0 Yanks in the first.  Yet Joba’s abysmal work, combined with Gaudin’s own, saw Texas not just erase the deficit, but score nine of their ten runs with rallies beginning with two outs and no one on base. As it was against Boston last Saturday when the team freely distributed two-out runs, last night was a wretch.

A grand slam from Matsui could have cut it to one with one swing, but Matsui did well enough, singling in JD, 10-6 Rangers. Jorge singled on a slow roller to third, 10-7 Texas.  GLG and I were both animated, exchanging high-fives and letting our excitement grow with the mounting comeback.

At this point, I wondered if Cano, who has been atrocious with RISP with year, would be the rally killer.  Yet he came through with a single to left, scoring two and cutting it to 10-9–still no outs. Then, it struck like lightning, the idea that, poorly executed as most sane people though it would be, sucked all hope out like a swirling maelstrom–the bunt.

Sterling first uttered it in passing, wondering if the Yanks would have Swisher bunt the runners over.  NOOOOO! I hissed. He’s no bunter!  Plus, this guy [Francisco] is bleeding runs.  Why have Swish try to bunt?  Let him hit!  He’s 0-4, but he’ll hit this guy!

The first pitch was up, and Swish was bunting but pulled back. Don’t bunt, I pleaded in vain toward the screen.  The second pitch came, and Swish popped up into foul ground to Young at third, wasting the out and failing to advance anyone.  What a grotesquely stupid decision, in that situation, with Swish of all people, against a pitcher primed to give away a huge lead.  While I mouthed positive paeans to the computer, exhorting the team to shrug it off and still win since it was just the first out, the stupid bunt call felt like a body blow, a momentum killer.  Melky then lined a 2-1 pitch hard but right to short, and Andrus beat Hairston pinch running for Jorge back to the bag, ending the game.

Mike, and the SoSH gang, are right.  Bunting is cancer.  Even though I never advocated that bunt last night, I’m so jaded on the whole exercise that I might never espouse bunting ever again.  HOOORRRIBLE. Anyone tuning in knew that game was there to be won.

Although Boston beat my son’s White Sox t0 cut the East lead to six, at least the Angels also lost, keeping the Yanks 3 1/2 ahead of them for home field, three in the loss column. That helped assuage things somewhat, but the fact remains that it should have been 4 1/2, period.

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. We are on the same page, Jason. I ripped Girardi for that for many reasons. As Pete Abraham points out (and I’ll add some emphasis of my own), you are bunting Swisher (me: 120 OPS+) to set it up for a slumping Melky (me: 94 OPS+)?

    Swisher has 21 HR. He was batting lefty. Granted just 3 HR at the Stadium (what an anomaly) but let him take a crack at the porch. Not only that, the guy leads the team in walks.

    Francisco just gave up 3 hits and a walk and you are giving him an out.

    I don’t mind bunting in the right times. That was not the right time.

    I understand via last night’s postgame on radio that when asked about the bunt by sportswriters rightly second-guessing it, that Girardi grew testy.

    Tough, Joe. You screwed up, pure and simple.

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