There’s already plenty of discourse going around when it comes to some of the decisions in Tuesday’s crushing loss to the Braves, so I’ll avoid doubling down with any direct analysis. I have also gone in-depth on the topic of bunting and have been critical of David Ross‘s predilection for having hitters lay them down, so this time I’m just looking to get someone else’s opinion on the matter.
“Bunts are a tough one, right?” Jed Hoyer told 670 The Score’s Parkins & Spiegel Show on Wednesday. “When you call for them and it works, everyone looks smart. When you call for bunts and it doesn’t work, everyone gets mad. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of bunting in general. But there are certainly late-game situations that it makes sense. Obviously, unfortunately, it didn’t work out last night.”
Hoyer is being very diplomatic here, which is to be expected, and he went on to justify the decision to have the struggling Pete Crow-Armstrong try to make something happen with a sac bunt. As the conversation continued, however, the baseball boss shared what came across as veiled criticism of the strategy his manager employed in the loss.
“I’m not going to second-guess those decisions. It’s so hard, right? Because if Seiya Suzuki catches that ball and we hold the lead in the 9th, no one is really talking about those things. And it gets magnified in that situation, so I don’t want to spend the time with five games left second-guessing it.
“But I do think in general, I’m a big fan of protecting your outs. I think that that’s the most valuable resource that an offense has. Whenever you can have that mentality of try not to give up outs – and there’s a fine line on the bases as well. Being aggressive, when it works, looks great, but when you give up outs against below-average pitching sometimes, that can really, really hurt you.
“So in general, that’s kind of always the philosophy I’ve had – is protect your outs. Bunting, in general, doesn’t do that.”
It’s hard to disagree with anything he’s saying here and I appreciate how he’s being mildly critical without coming right out and saying he wasn’t a fan of Miles Mastrobuoni being asked to advance Yan Gomes after having collected three hits earlier in the game. Rather than continue with my own commentary, I’m interested in hearing from you in the comments.
What are your thoughts on bunting in general and on the specific decisions in question?