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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Game 103: Another sac bunt dooms the Phils (65-38)

I am writing this post under the assumption that Charlie Manuel (or any coach on the staff) told Jimmy Rollins to bunt last night in the 8th inning with Wilson Valdez on first and nobody out.

If not, then it was just a bad idea by Rollins.

The score was 2-1 when Ross Gload led off the 8th with catcher's interference. Manuel immediately removed Gload for pinch-runner Wilson Valdez (I'd rather have Valdez play 3rd base regularly and keep Martinez as a pinch-runner). After Gload reached base, Bruce Bochy called on LHP Javier Lopez, owner of a 4.0 career BB/9 -- his walk rate is even higher this season -- to face the top of the Phils' order.

Rollins bunted on the first pitch, even though patience is the number 1 key in beating Lopez. The bunt was awful and Valdez was thrown out at second. Since a AA hitter was on deck after Rollins, it was up to Chase Utley to produce a two-out RBI to tie the game. He didn't, and the Phils' best chance to tie the game was wiped away because of Rollins' sac bunt.

We've been over why you shouldn't sacrifice in this situation, and the possibility of a failed attempt is always one of the reasons. Rollins is an infinitely better hitter than Martinez, but Manuel allowed Rollins to give himself up in order to bring Martinez (.315 minor league OBP) to the plate. Backwards managing. Even a successful sacrifice bunt decreases the chance of scoring 1 run in the inning. Perhaps if Albert Pujols were the next 3 batters, a bunt would have been the right move. But when it's Martinez-lefty-lefty, it's an awful decision.

Another reason why Rollins' bunt was the worst play of the game: Lopez's career OPS allowed vs right-handed batters is .796. Against lefties? .621.

Even if Rollins decided to bunt on his own, which would be very surprising, it's up to the manager to not allow that to happen. Rollins was the only true right-handed threat to face Lopez (who walks many, many batters), and he bunted on the first pitch.

Another ridiculous decision from a poorly-managed team.

Tonight the Phils try to win the series when Kyle Kendrick takes on RHP Tim Lincecum at 7:05 pm.

2 comments:

hk said...

Even after the horrible decision to bunt Rollins, the decision to let Martinez bat instead of Mayberry was nearly as stupid.

Andy Musser said...

Very true.