Carl Crawford bunted today and I hate it, hate it, hate it. Crawford is basically a league average hitter against southpaws over the last three years. With a man on second and nobody out 1.19 runs are expected, a runner on third with one out has a RE of 0.98. So, by bunting, the Rays actually lowered the amount of runs expected by 0.11. Even if Carl strikes out - or hits an infield pop, or grounds to third, etc., -- the RE is 0.73.
Jason Bartlett is a pretty good base runner/stealer. Over the last three years his stolen base percentage is over 80% easily - heck, he's near 90% this year despite more attempts - and he's 19-21 stealing third. Of the 15 times he's been on second base when a single is hit, he's scored on six of them. If you want Bartlett to be on third in case of a sac fly, then have him steal third. Instead, Crawford bunts, Evan Longoria strikes out - RE down to 0.39, about 0.05 runs higher than if Bartlett were on second with two outs - and the Rays eventually get nothing out of a runner on second with nobody out.
Sometimes you have to drop a bunt down when the defense doesn't expect it simply to put the thought in their mind. It's basic game theory. The problem is Carl Crawford is a really poor bunter. The last time he reached on a bunt hit was 2006. Crawford's last sacrifice hit? 2007. No defense in the world expects Carl to bunt and two per season doesn't change anything. Even if he did catch the Jays off guard today, his attempt was poor enough to result in an easy out.
Asking B.J. Upton or Bartlett to drop one down is one thing, but someone inexperienced and bad? Not a fan of the call of Joe Maddon's, and I have no idea what Carl was thinking if he did it on his own.
- Sometimes you can't help but laugh at follies; see Carlos Pena's "groundout" in the first.
- Todd Kalas is fantastic in the booth. It's like a positional realignment. You get the idea he would make a nice booth voice since he has the tools for it, but you aren't 100% sure until you hear it. I think the broadcaster WAR would sort like this:
- Dewayne Staats 5.1
- Todd Kalas 4.4
- Brian Anderson 2.5
- Kevin Kennedy -2.0
- Kalas is refreshing. He wasn't a cliché machine, knows the team, and seems to have a pretty good grasp on the realities of the game. I'm not expecting in-depth analysis or groundbreaking thought. I want to be entertained and left without feeling annoyed. Kalas does both, and does both well.
- Gregg Zaun: 4 HR in 197 PA with the Orioles;2 HR in 17 PA with the Rays.