Just back from a week in the Sunshine State.
With all the chat from Maddon every year about "There's games to be won" by executing fundamentals, this team gets near failing grades in baseball IQ.
How is it that the prized CF can miss the cutoff man more times than not?
How is it that same player can overrun a base and get picked of by an alert IFer?
How is it that the prized base stealing champ looks lost running the bases so often?
How is it that the same player can allow the go ahead run to score on a Sac Fly by making a foul ball catch in the bottom of the 8th inning?
And getting to my headliner, I am at the Yanks game Tuesday. Bottom 2nd runners at the corners, 1 out, and our best bunter up, I'm thinking that if ARod doesn't move onto the grass (OK turf), then the squeeze is in order. Bartlett bounces out 4-6-3 to end the threat. OK I know it is not a given to squeeze there, playing for the big inning is playable there even with Bartlett's stick but the Yanks were defending the big inning by keeping ARod back (just in front of the bag), thus opening the possibility of a bunt single leading to our thumpers. It didn't work out but like I said, I can understand the logic of playing for the big inning by hitting away with Bartlett.
On to the 9th inning and down a pair, I have no idea if Elliot Johnson can bunt but ARod is playing bearly in and Friggin Rivera is on the mound. EJ K's looking. OK maybe the kid can't bunt. Bartlett's next. He is the Rays best bunter. ARod is just in front of the bag. Strike one. ARod moves behind the bag. It's the 9th inning and the Rays are down 2 and the matchup is Rivera and Bartlett and the defense is playing behind the bag. BUNT THE FRIGGIN BALL!
I know that Bartlett eventually reaches by an IF single to Jeter but still maybe part of the reason that Maddon complains that the team does not manufacture runs is that they never seem to take what the defense is willing to allow.
In the words of Herb Brooks - "You think you can win on talent alone. Gentlemen you don't have enough talent to win on talent alone."