There’s an old adage in the game of baseball: “With runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out, you bunt. It doesn’t matter who is up, you still bunt.”
Last night in a 3-2 victory over the Astros in 14 innings, the first two Mets reached in the top of the 10th. Reyes singled up the middle followed by an absolutely beautiful bunt single from Angel Pagan. Rather than call for Wright to drop down a sacrifice bunt, Manuel let David swing away. Wright lifted a weak fly ball to left field for the first out. Though Reyes and Pagan executed a double steal with one out, that is a very risky play in extra innings.
Here is what should have happened:
Wright lays down the sacrifice bunt to set up 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Since Reyes was at third, all Beltran needs is a medium-length fly ball, and the Mets take the lead.
Here is what actually happened:
After the double steal, the Astros walked Beltran intentionally (which they probably would have done if Wright bunted anyway). Davis grounded into a force play, and Francoeur followed with a line out to right. No runs scored.
After four more grueling innings, the Mets took the lead on Ike’s sacrifice fly in the 14th.
There are many “what-ifs” that could have occurred, but what if Reyes was thrown out stealing third? Then Beltran would bat with a runner on second and two outs. He would have probably been walked to face the struggling Davis, who would have needed a base hit (not a fly ball) to get the run home. Ike is now 3 for his last 25, so the odds of a hit were slim.
I’m sure many of you are thinking: David Wright is this team’s #3 hitter; you don’t bunt with your #3 hitter. Well, the #3 hitter on a team that hasn’t scored more than 5 runs since July 30 (they lost 9-6 to Arizona) should be bunting in that situation. David is a good athlete, and I think he would have laid down a successful bunt.
In the scheme of things, the team won, and that’s all that matters. However, playing fundamental baseball is what will get this team on a hot streak. They had a chance last night, and they blew it, causing the bullpen to work harder in the late innings.
About the Author
Written by Jim Mancari
James (Jim) Mancari hails from Massapequa, NY. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with degrees in History and Kinesiology. Jim currently is pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY). He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets' fans, Jim has plenty of hope. Jim also writes for the NJ Nets on this site. He can be contacted at email@example.com. He appreciates and respects additional opinions.