After Juan Pierre started the 7th inning with a walk yesterday, Ozzie Guillen decided to have Gordon Beckham try to bunt him over. Seemed questionable to me. Well, Ozzie did it again 2 innings later. Pierre started the 9th with a single and Ozzie had Beckham try to bunt him over. Why take the bat out of Beckham’s shoulder? BTW, Beckham got out both times. Here’s two good takes on Ozzie’s decision:
There is nothing in the world I hate more than a sacrifice bunt with a runner on first base.
It is the lowest percentage play in the situation and only one step short of an outright admission by a manager of no confidence in his team’s hitting abilities. Everyone who’s ever read a word of this column knows my feelings on the matter.
The fact that Ozzie Guillen implemented that losing strategy with his best hitter at the plate, and with a potential base-stealer on first, and with a wild pitcher on the mound, and that it happened twice in last night’s game only fuels my rage.
What was up with Beckham bunting with Pierre on base in the 9th with the game still tied? The Book says that late in a tie game, bunting the runner over gives the team 78.2% expectancy of scoring a run when bunting with a > .350 wOBA or greater hitter. There’s no advantage to using a good hitter or a poor hitter to bunt in that situation, because defenses usually are looking for a bunt regardless of who’s hitting, generally. The run expectancy for a >.350 wOBA hitter is 94.4% when you let him swing the bat, a 16.2% difference. I know it’s not just as cut and dried as that, and like I said, I didn’t see the game, but from what I gather the defense was looking bunt all the way, and Guillen took the bat out of one of his best hitter’s hands.
Ozzie response? Turn off the TV, become Cub fans, and you are idiots:
“Well, don’t watch it. That’s easy, man. If you don’t want to watch the way I’m managing this club, it’s easy, be a Cub fan or talk about something else. I’m not going to tell people why I do stuff, what I did. They talk about taking the bat away from Beckham, that’s the seventh and ninth innings and I’ve got my best two hitters, the only guys swinging the bat well right now, right behind him.
All those idiots out there they think about baseball, come out here and manage. I don’t have to explain to anybody why I do stuff.
I’ve got this job and I’m going to run this ballclub the way I think it should be run. And I’m going to run this ballclub the way I think is best for the team. I’ll bet you they don’t think about striking out 12 times. They (Sox) struck out twice with men on third base, bases loaded, they don’t talk about that. They talk about how I run this ballclub. Shame on them. This is my seventh year here and I’m here for a reason. I’m not here because I’m Kenny’s friend or Jerry’s buddy. I think I’m here because I think I know what I’m doing.”