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Friday, October 20, 2006

Baseball, National League-style

[image caption] New York Mets manager Willie Randolph describes to reporters how big he believed his balls to be before he allowed Cliff Floyd to swing away with the season on the line. [image courtesy MLB.com]


Last night.

Game 7.

St. Louis @ New York Mets.

Top of the 9th inning. St. Louis' catcher, Yadier Molina hits a 2-run home run, giving the Cardinals a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead in the last frame.

The Mets come to bat.

Let's turn the call over to ESPN's (Boston) Sports Guy:
"8:29 -- Valentin bloops a single into right-center to start the ninth. Shades of Ray Knight's hit 20 years ago. I just had a Nam-like flashback. Meanwhile, they're playing one of the inspirational songs from the Rocky-Drago fight on the PA system -- it's like they went out of their way to make my buddy Gus feel better. Good God. It can't happen again, can it?

8:31 -- Chavez singles. Two on, nobody out. I am staring at a ghost right now. This is eerie. The Cardinals fans must be DYING. How can Fox not show the flashback to 1986 Game Six right now? What are they waiting for?

8:33 -- Pinch-hitter Cliff Floyd is the winning run at home plate ...

8:35 -- ... and strikes out on a pretty breaking ball. One out. Wouldn't it have made more sense to bunt there? Hmmmmm. 'No lefthanded hitter in baseball could have hit that pitch,' McCarver yelps. I don't even have the energy to argue with him anymore. Let's see if Ho-zaaaaaaaaay Ho-zay Ho-zay Ho-zay can do something."

Whoa! Hold it right there!

Let's go back to this line: "Wouldn't it have made more sense to bunt there?"

Answer: Goddamn it! Yes!

What the hell were manager Willie Randolph and the rest of the Mets thinking about?

You've got the tying run at first base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th IN GAME 7 OF THE NLCS! YOU BUNT HERE!

You have to -- HAVE TO -- get your tying run in scoring position RIGHT NOW!

The really weird thing is that I'm convinced that Randolph would've had Cliff Floyd (or a pinch-bunter) bunt in an identical situation in the regular season. That's National League baseball! Small ball! Move runners over! Manufacture runs!

But, being that this is the playoffs and all, Randolph suddenly reverted back to American League "big boy" baseball: play for the home run.

And, with Floyd at-bat, that logic might have made some sense...IF YOU WEREN'T DOWN BY TWO RUNS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 9TH WITH THE TYING RUN STANDING AT FIRST BASE WITH NO OUTS!

Bunt the damn baseball!

University of Minnesota Associate Head Coach Rob Fornasiere has a rule about bunting runners over: the only time to bunt is when you gain two bases.

The meaning here is that either a lone baserunner can get two bases, or, more likely, two baserunners each move up one base respectively.

Memo to Willie Randolph: You bunt here!

But Randolph didn't call on Floyd to bunt. Let's see how this turned out. Back to Simmons, courtesy of ESPN:
"8:38 -- Nope. Lines out to Edmonds. Looked like a hit coming off the bat. Two outs, LoDuca batting to save the season ...

8:41 -- ... and he walks! Holy crap. Bases loaded, two outs, Beltran up. I don't care about either team and I want to throw up. Agonizing. This game might make the cut at ESPN Classic yet.


8:43 -- Or, maybe not. Wainwright just snuck a 0-2 deuce past Beltran to end the series. Wow. I mean ... wow. Has a dramatic playoff game ever ended with the best player on the better team striking out looking? That couldn't have been more anticlimactic. It's not possible. Congrats to the Cards fans -- that's a great win. Even if they almost killed you in the process."

Good luck next year, Mr. Randolph.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2006/07/empirical_analy_1.php

the numebrs don't lie - they would have still ben a half a run short!

:)

Fri Oct 20, 08:48:00 AM 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2006/07/empirical_analy_1.php

Fri Oct 20, 08:52:00 AM 2006

 
Blogger Jim said...

Yadier?...I had everyone in the bar chanting Benji...Beenji...I feel kind of stupid now.

Tim McCarver is a moron.

Go Cards!

Fri Oct 20, 10:04:00 AM 2006

 
Blogger AdamB said...

Cards and Tigers. This is a pretty sweet series, no?

Fri Oct 20, 02:36:00 PM 2006

 
Blogger Skibby said...

How about them Cardinals!!!

Sun Oct 22, 05:52:00 AM 2006

 
Blogger AdamB said...

He's probably going to get a contract extension, too.

Mon Oct 23, 10:38:00 AM 2006

 

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