Red Sox’ Lovullo becomes “The Bunt Master”


Nothing like finding a negative in a positive as interim manager Torey Lovullo managed to do in the 11-4 thumping of the Toronto Blue Jays by the last place Red Sox.

What was the crime committed by Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart? They bunted! And to compound their baseball sins they did it on their own. Off with their heads with batting helmets attached.

The egregious sins of the two miscreants was reported in the notes column in the Boston Herald. On NESN the commentary was the Red Sox playing “small ball” and this observer considered it smart baseball.

"“Those were not signs given. Those were baseball plays by those two players,” Lovullo said. “I’m more of the belief of breaking the game open in that part of the game.”"

For Lovullo the spanking of the two players for using their own initiative was a public one. So much for Lovullo being a possible “player’s manager.” Seems that Lovullo is strictly a Earl Weaver three run home run guy.

Players occasionally bunt on their own and have since Dickey Pearce reportedly invented its use somewhere back about 130 years ago. In the National League you will see it frequently employed as a tool to advance runners and play for the small inning rather than the big inning.

From my observation bunting is a tool that is rusting away in the tool kit of the Boston Red Sox as it is used infrequently and with rather poor results. Boston has been successful 27 times this season to rank sixth in the American League – right behind the Jays at 29.

Sandoval used his initiative early in the game – the third inning and it moved Jackie Bradley and Mookie Betts, who had both singled, up a base. That was out number one and by the time out number three arrived both had scored and Boston was up 3-1.

The yellow tape around the crime scene for Swihart waited until the next inning with Rusney Castillo and Brock Holt both on with singles. Swihart was successful and both runners eventually scored to give Boston a 5-1 lead.

Both players shed some light on their decision. For Pablo it was his “Wanted to have a quality at bat.” Panda also had missed three games and was facing a left-hander, Mark Buehrle, whom he had singled off in the first. Maybe Panda assumed he had reached his hit quota against left-handers for the week?

Swihart was a bit more creative in his defense with a “Never really bunted before and wanted to prove to myself I could do it.” Also noted was blazing hot Bradley was on deck.

From my view anything that can generate runs against a hitting machine like the Jays is worth it. Move the runners along and go for it. As Swihart pointed out with the hot hitting Bradley up next and, of course, Betts waiting to have his go. For Sandoval the next batter was Xander Bogaerts. Say, Torey, how is he hitting? After that they deal with David Ortiz as in 31 home runs and hot….hot…hot.

Early in the game? Torey – have you witnessed your bullpen? With that group of gasoline cans you try to score early and often – especially against a pitcher who cleaned your clock earlier in the season.

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