Wasted opportunities, intentional and otherwise
Just read Dylan Hernandez’s game story on the L.A. Times website, which included the following bit of wisdom from Orlando Hudson:
“We had 50 guys in scoring position,” Orlando Hudson muttered as he raced past reporters on his way to the showers.
Far be it from me to ever question my colleagues, but as a reporter who was about a thousand miles away from this game — I’m spending the night in Cripple Creek, Colo., with my mom, aunt and cousin — I have to wonder if any of those reporters bothered to ask Hudson or manager Joe Torre why in the world Hudson, a hot hitter who earlier in the game had extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, had chosen to attack one of those runner-in-scoring position situations by BUNTING THAT RUNNER FROM SECOND TO THIRD. That was in the seventh inning, with the game still tied, and Rafael Furcal had just led off with a double.
I went on record, ad nauseum in fact, on that other blog I used to do about my absolute contempt for the sacrifice bunt when it is utilized with anyone other than the pitcher at the plate. This is almost almost always a stupid play that is counterproductive and, even when successfully executed, usually plays into the other team’s hands because you are PUTTING THE OTHER TEAM ONE OUT CLOSER TO GETTING OUT OF THE JAM. Rather that getting Furcal on third with one out — where he was eventually stranded because the Dodgers had only two outs left to work with and burned them pretty quickly — wouldn’t it have been interesting to see what would have happened that inning if the O-Dog had swung away? What if he had singled, scoring Furcal with the go-ahead run and putting himself on base, still with nobody out? What if he had doubled, scoring Furcal and putting himself in scoring position, still with nobody out? What if he had hit a two-run HR?
In fairness to Joe Torre, he has been a breath of fresh air in his season-plus managing the Dodgers because he mostly avoids this tactic — no doubt a remnant of the dozen seasons he spent managing in the American League, where it is almost never used. And again, I wasn’t there to inquire as to whether Hudson did this on his own or whether Larry Bowa was relaying a sign from the bench. But whatever the reason, I’m sure the Angels appreciated the favor.