Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 4/15/13
Picimg_florida_news_f23c
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, one of the more enlightened minds in the game, has the same opinion about the bunt as most educated fans of the game: that it's an overrated part of baseball that he's not a fan of. "For that group of people out there that want guys to bunt all the time, you don't know the outcome when you choose to do that," Maddon said, of choosing not to bunt with two runners on base and no outs in the ninth inning, and again following a leadoff double in the 10th. "I think the bunt is an overrated play." Now, let's break down the situation that Maddon was in on Saturday. In the ninth inning, Joel Hanrahan walked both Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, and Red Sox manager John Farrell pulled Hanrahan and brought in Koji Uehara. Maddon pinch hit with James Loney for Shelley Duncan. Loney has a grand total of six sacrifice bunts in his career, with three of those coming in 2011 and the other three coming in the other nearly 800 games of his career. Duncan, who Loney pinch hit for, has a grand total of one sacrifice in his 320 major league games, and that came in 2007. Aside from Loney on his bench, Maddon had Jose Lobaton (a backup catcher) and Kelly Johnson, actually an adept bunter. But here's something fun: the two hitters that would follow Duncan's spot in the order were Yunel Escobar and Ryan Roberts, neither of whom has hit a lick this year. Loney hasn't been much better by any means, but he had a better shot at driving a run in than either of those two. Throw in the fact that Uehara has been pure, unmitigated death to righties during his career, and you can see why Maddon had no desire to bunt with Loney. Now, looking at the tenth inning, the cries for bunting grew louder after Jose Molina led off with a double. Johnson ran for Molina, clearly the wise move there, and therein lies the major problem with bunting: any hit that would have scored Johnson from third would have probably scored him from second. The nine hitter, Matt Joyce, followed Molina in the lineup. Of course, Joyce has a grand total of one sacrifice in his career, and he's a guy with substantial pop, even for as much as he struggled this year. But with Junichi Tazawa on the hill, and Maddon's bench empty aside from Lobaton, Joyce was probably hapless against Tazawa anyway, due to how much he absolutely murders lefties. In both cases, there's probably a higher chance that the bunt would have completely failed to get down, which probably would have resulted in the same people shaming Maddon for not bunting shaming him for attempting to bunt using crappy bunters. Besides, look at the run expectancy matrix for this season. After Zobrist's walk in the ninth to put men on first and second with none out, that put the Rays in a position where teams scored 1.38 runs this season, compared to 1.30 runs with runners on second and third with one out (which would have been the situation after the bunt). Last year, in a much larger sample, teams scored an average of 1.44 runs with men on first and second with none out, compared to 1.29 with men on second and third with one out. In the tenth inning situation, teams have scored an average of 1.03 runs with a man on second and none out compared to 0.92 with a runner on third and one out. Last year, those numbers shifted to 1.07 in the initial situation, and 0.90 post-bunt. Taking everything into account, it's very easy to understand where Maddon is coming from with his disdain for the bunt, especially considering all of the extraneous circumstances in Saturday's game. I didn't even mention that in the ninth, the Red Sox had Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks leading off the inning, a pair of hitters with some intense power. And in the tenth, another guy with crazy power (Jarrod Saltalamacchia) led the inning off pinch hitting for David Ross before the lineup turned over to Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Dustin Pedroia, three guys who can cause havoc on the bases without even needing to bunt. One run might have been nice for the Rays, but Boston's lineup can put one run on the board pretty quickly, especially against a bullpen that has struggled as much this year like Tampa Bay's has. [Fan Nation] [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker