Saturday, September 09, 2006

Manager's View of Bunting

Former major league pitcher and manager Larry Dierker writes a blog (now on the links to the right) for the Houston Chronicle. It's actually quite good, as Dierker clearly still loves watching the Astros play. Yesterday, he tackled the topic of little ball. Here now, I present the thoughts of the 1998 Manager of the Year:

On bunting:
When I was pitching, I was delighted when the hitter squared to bunt -- especially if he was a decent hitter. I'll take an man on second with one out any day. And many times it worked out even better for me because the hitter either made a bad bunt and we got the force play at second, or he went back to hitting with two strikes in the count.
On bunting early:
One run is not a big deal in the first inning. But the big inning is a big deal. In 70 percent of all major league games, the winning team scores as many or more runs in one inning than the other team scores in the whole game. That suggests that it is better to play for the big inning until late in the game and that's the way I managed.
On the hit-and-run:
"If it's such an aggressive play," I said. "Why don't you use it with two outs?" The answer was that with two outs there is no incentive to avoid the double play. I rested my case.
On little ball's place in the game:
Little ball originated in the dead ball era. It was a good tactic quite often back then. It has survived for 100 years because there are still situations where it makes sense. But those situations are far fewer now.
Lots more interesting thoughts to be found there to boot. Definitely check it out.

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