Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lack of Fundamental Bunting Costing Sox

In 3 games, the Sox have attempted 2 sacrifice bunts. 1 went for a triple play, and the other went for a force out at third. In other words, both failed miserably.

And the sad thing is, both times the bunter (Morel and Ramirez) pushed the ball the wrong way.

There are two scenarios in which a player is called to sac bunt. The first is with a man only on first, the second is with a man on second or first and second.

Sacrifice bunting 101 goes as follows.

Man on first, trying to move him to second, you bunt the ball to first. Why? Because it makes the first baseman catch the ball, the second baseman have to cover first, leaving only the shortstop to cover second. If done properly, there is no way the first baseman can pick up the ball and throw it to the second baseman to force out the lead runner.

Man on second (or first on second), you bunt the ball to third. Why? Because it makes the third baseman field the ball and have to throw to the first baseman (or second baseman if both charge) leaving no one at third base to force out the lead runner. The "wheel play" is designed to have the shortstop cover third, but it is not commonly run, and when it is, it works maybe 1 out of 10.

You would think, with a bunt-happy manager, bunting fundamentals would be drilled into the heads of the White Sox. You would also think that players who have played baseball for 15+ years would know these fundamentals.

But the Sox seemingly don't.

And I don't get it. When I was a young buck, at age 16, as a freshman in high school, I was taught these fundamentals. They have stuck with me ever since, and after hearing the explanations (which I said earlier), it has really become a hot button item for me when major league players do not follow them.

The Sox has 2 chances to put more runs on the board in this series. Saturday it didn't matter. Today, it may have cost the Sox their third straight win. If Alexei gets the bunt down (to the third baseman), the Sox have men on second and third with 1 out. Vizquel (1 for 1 at the time, and eventually singled in the next AB), would have had a great chance to extend the Sox lead.

The game changes at 2-0 or 3-0. It probably gets Masterson out an inning earlier, and Danks is afforded a cushion of more than a run when he approached 100 pitches.

Not guaranteeing the Sox win this game if the bunt was successful, but I know they would have been in better shape. And I'm positive they will need to start bunting fundamentally if they want to win in the future.

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