Allow me to put down my calculator.
Okay. There are times when bunting is acceptable. One of those times includes when a pitcher is batting and there is a runner on base that needs to be moved over. Another is when a clear double-play candidate is at the plate and it would be advantageous for the offense to avoid that situation and move runners over rather than risk two outs instead of giving away one.
Neither of those situations, nor any other acceptable bunting situation that I didn't outline above, were in play in the ninth inning on Saturday, when the Colorado Rockies had two runners on base and nobody out in a tie game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Now, before I continue, let me make it clear that I fully realize the game was not technically lost in that inning, but rather, when Rafael Betancourt walked Brandon Crawford to lead off the 10th inning and, after retiring Guillermo Quiroz on a sac bunt, allowed a walk-off, inside-the-park home run to Angel Pagan. I get that. However, Colorado had a chance to take the lead and wind up facing a different set of hitters if it had only made the smart move an inning earlier.
After Yorvit Torrealba and Wilin Rosario hit back-to-back singles to start the ninth inning, Walt Weiss (I'm only assuming he was the guy in charge of the decision) called for Dexter Fowler to bunt the runners over with nobody out, probably because he had confidence in DJ LeMahieu to come up with a productive out to score the lead runner. Here is my problem with that decision:
1. Dexter Fowler is not a huge double-play candidate. He has never grounded out into more than six double plays in a season; as a comparison, at least 13 different National League players have grounded into more than that this year already and Ryan Zimmerman grounded into 20 a year ago. As such, had Fowler hit a ground ball while swinging away, the result likely would have been the same as a bunt.
2. Eric Young Jr., who is obviously a speedy runner in his own right, pinch-ran for Torrealba and was already in scoring position.
3. Knowing the Giants' propensity for late-inning rallies in home games which result in walk-off victories, the Rockies probably shouldn't have just been playing for one run.
Still, Fowler ended up bunting the runners over and LeMahieu wound up striking out instead of producing that oh-so-valuable productive out. Carlos Gonzalez flew out to Hunter Pence to end the inning, and the Rockies' promising start to the frame was wasted.
Troy Tulowitzki played hero in the top of the 10th, absolutely crushing a hanging slider from Sergio Romo halfway into the left field stands, giving the Rockies an extra-innings lead. However, just as was the case with Tulo's three ninth-inning-or-later go-ahead homers on the same road trip in 2007, the Rockies lost in heartbreaking fashion in the bottom half of the inning.
No team should give away outs, especially in situations that really just don't call for it whatsoever. I mean, I get what Weiss was doing I guess, but purposely killing a rally in this context was inexcusable.
Luckily, there's always tomorrow.
Some good things:
1. CarGo blasted his 13th homer in the first inning, a laser into McCovey Cove which marked the Rockies' first splash hit in their history, and the 90th overall. Giants players have hit 63, while opponents have mustered up 27. Gonzalez trails only Justin Upton for the National League lead in homers. Upton has 14.
2. Juan Nicasio looked very good for the second consecutive start, allowing just two runs in five innings. He walked one and struck out two. Both of the runs charged to Nicasio were of the inherited variety.
3. Wilton Lopez tossed another scoreless inning, retiring the Giants on four pitches in the ninth. After a rough start, Lopez is quietly morphing into a reliable late-inning option.
4. It's nice to see Tulo come through in a clutch situation. His home run off of Sergio Romo was his 10th of the season. Seven of the previous nine Rockies batters who faced Romo this season struck out, and Romo only allowed one home run in 2013 prior to Tulo's blast.
Hopefully the Rockies bounce back and earn a rare series win in San Francisco, although they have their work cut out for them with the scuffling Jon Garland taking the hill against Matt Cain, who has been very good in each of his last few outings, the game in Denver notwithstanding.
27 - 22
The Arizona Diamondbacks are currently getting smoked by the San Diego Padres, so the Rox will likely still be in a tie for first place entering their series finale against the Giants on Sunday.
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||Bryan Kilpatrick, CORockFaithful, Chrysicat, Drew Creasman, ES46NE10, Ebezz, Jordan Freemyer, Junction Rox, Kevin L, Mr. Rockie, Muzia, Nephelimdream, Nick95, Northsider1964, OrangeTorpedo, Paleface Destro, RMC7511, RhodeIslandRoxfan, Rockies7935, RockyMountainWay91, SDcat09, Shoemaker, Sjamb, TakeFive, The Lodo Magic Man, Torrey's Tacos, Traindogger, Twilly7, WanderingRoxFan, WhiskeyDrinkingMan, barroz, biondino, butterfly, holly96, idj2, marik7772003, neumdaddy, personalspaceinvader, rockiesfan4ever, sam23, sleepyteak|