Thursday, April 21, 2005

Giving Away Outs

In today’s game, Tony Pena again demonstrated why giving away outs isn’t always the best offensive strategy.

The Royals are playing the Twins in the Metrodome. In the top of the sixth, the Royals were trailing 8-5. On the first pitch of the inning, Royals catcher John Buck homered to make it 8-6.

The next batter, Calvin Pickering coaxed a 9 pitch walk. Emil Brown the hit his first pitch over the left field wall to tie the game at 8.

At this point, it’s pretty obvious the Royals are hitting this pitcher pretty well.

Ruben Gotay then bunts for a hit and takes second on the throwing error by the pitcher.

This is where it begins to get ugly. David DeJesus is now up with Gotay at second and nobody out. DeJesus is having a good year so far, and in his first at bat tripled. There are no outs, so it seems to make sense to let David swing away. A fly ball could move Gotay to third, or a hit could score him.

Pena elects to sacrifice. DeJesus is out at first and Gotay moves up to third. There’s now one out and Tony Graffanino is up. Again, only one out so a fly ball scores him.

This time Pena decides to try the suicide squeeze. Why? It’s 8-8. Both teams are scoring easily. It’s only the sixth inning. That one run likely isn’t the game winner. Graffanino misses the bunt and Gotay is tagged out at home.

Graffanino then grounds out to end the inning.

Why in the world would Pena turn to consecutive bunts so early in the game when two struggling hitters just hit homeruns? Let them swing the bats!

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