Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bunting is bad

Last night, in the fifth inning of a tie game, Derek Jeter bunted runners on first and second over to second and third.

When you play small ball, it's expected that you can master the art of the bunt.

When you have hitters that struggle to hit for power or are otherwise weak--like pitchers and nine hitters--bunting can make some sense.

When you have a hitter that's headed to Cooperstown on the first ballot--like Derek Jeter--bunting makes almost no sense, at all. Sure, there's a risk that Jeter would hit into a double play, but the price of giving away an out in a close game is too much for a hitter of Jeter's caliber.

Bunting is what you do with your American League pitcher in interleague play or when Brett Gardner is batting and the infield is back looking for a double play.

It's not what you do with Derek Jeter. Or Nick Swisher (you remember that...).

I have very few complaints about the way that Joe Girardi has run the Yankees this year. Best record and all that. Still, if bunting costs the Yankees a postseason win against a team like those Angels (or Red Sox or whomever), it won't be pretty.