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Thread: Sac bunting at GABP

  1. #1
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    Sac bunting at GABP

    Tonight, Dusty sacrificed with Hanigan in the ninth inning. The tying run got to second but never scored.

    I'm generally neutral about sac bunting. It depends on the circumstances to me. Is the batter a DP candidate? Is the pitcher particularly tough? Is the batter a good bunter and is he a very good hitter, like a Votto, who should never bunt? These are a few of the considerations.

    Thinking about it, though, I really didn't like the bunt play tonight. GABP is such a home run paradise. Why take away the opportunity for Hanigan to park one over the short right field fence and win the game?

    IMO the bunt should be used sparingly in a home run ball park like GABP.

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    I don't know if you can always count on using the home run as a way to win the game. I haven't done any studies on this but I bet the percentages of a runner scoring from 2nd base with one or two outs is greater than someone hitting a home run to win the game. In my opinion, in that situation in the 9th, you have to stick with basic baseball philosophy.
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    Member Captain Hook's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    More then anything I just don't like giving the other teams outs when they already only need 3 more to end the game.

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Hook View Post
    More then anything I just don't like giving the other teams outs when they already only need 3 more to end the game.
    Again, I think it depends on the situation. Certainly, if the team is down by one run in the 9th, you risk using the sac bunt. You can't rely on the home run and bunting the runner over to second eliminates the double play. I would agree with you, however, if the team was down by more than one run.
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    Again, I think it depends on the situation. Certainly, if the team is down by one run in the 9th, you risk using the sac bunt. You can't rely on the home run and bunting the runner over to second eliminates the double play. I would agree with you, however, if the team was down by more than one run.
    I like the sacrifice better with a man on second. Move him to third and you are a fly ball - or well placed grounder - away from a tie.

    Bunting a man over to second still requires a base hit to win. I'd rather let Hanigan try for the base hit without giving up the out.

    Tonight, the baseball was flying out of GABP. At least for Arizona. I would have given Hanigan a chance to hit the ball hard someplace.

    Also, having Hanigan bunt so that Janish can swing the bat seems counterintuitive to me.

  7. #6
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Arizona can hit the ball. They can't pitch but their offense is legit, in my opinion.

    I can see both sides of the argument on this issue though. You do bring up a good point. I still like to see the double play eliminated though.
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  8. #7
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    The more likely occurrence than the homer, especially with Hanigan at bat, is that he'd single and Gomes would be on 3rd -- able to score on a sac fly. It seems to me that most sacrifices, it really represents a lack of appreciation for all the positive outcomes you could get when not purposefully making an out.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Successfully executing a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to 2nd base increases your odds of scoring one run by only a small amount yet drastically reduces your chance of scoring more than one run. The key to that strategy is successfully executing the bunt -- and that is far from a 100% certainty. Failure to get a good bunt down happens a lot, and when it does it destroys your chances of tying or winning the game.

    There are many ways a bunt play can go wrong: the lead runner can get thrown out instead of the batter, the bunt can get popped up and result in a double play or the bunter can get himself into a deep hole in the count by bunting foul.

    Using this chart of Win Expectancy based on thousands of real MLB box scores we can see that the Reds had a 33.1% chance of winning the game when they had Johnny Gomes on 1st base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th inning down by one run. Succesfully sacrifice bunting the runner to second base actually reduced the Reds chance of winning the game to 28.2%! The small increase in likelihood of scoring one run is overwhelmed by the huge reduction in the likelihood of scoring two runs -- and the Reds needed two runs to win.

    Given the fact that the Reds needed 2 runs to win the game and had a good hitter at the plate I believe Dusty's decision to have Hannigan bunt made JJ Putz's job of closing out the game a lot easier than it should have been. The bunting strategy makes a little more sense when the game is tied and the runner can win the game instead of merely tie the game, but even then it is better to swing away (or walk) than to intentionally give your opponent an easy out unless the batter at the plate is an easy out anyway -- like a pitcher. Outs are a valuable and rare currency and they are squandered all too often.

  10. #9
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    Tonight, Dusty sacrificed with Hanigan in the ninth inning. The tying run got to second but never scored.

    I'm generally neutral about sac bunting. It depends on the circumstances to me. Is the batter a DP candidate? Is the pitcher particularly tough? Is the batter a good bunter and is he a very good hitter, like a Votto, who should never bunt? These are a few of the considerations.

    Thinking about it, though, I really didn't like the bunt play tonight. GABP is such a home run paradise. Why take away the opportunity for Hanigan to park one over the short right field fence and win the game?

    IMO the bunt should be used sparingly in a home run ball park like GABP.

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    Agreed. Bunts should be limted to pitchers and guys like Janish who probably make an out anyway, I'd have had Hanigan swinging away.
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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I don't know if you can always count on using the home run as a way to win the game. I haven't done any studies on this but I bet the percentages of a runner scoring from 2nd base with one or two outs is greater than someone hitting a home run to win the game. In my opinion, in that situation in the 9th, you have to stick with basic baseball philosophy.
    There is the rub IMO. The most basic philosophy on offense is "don't make outs" and on defense its "get guys out." Seems like a sac bunt is violating the offense's most basic philosophy and helping the defense stick to theirs. If you have a guy up who is likely to make an out anyway (like a pitcher) then bunt, otherwise its a poor application of the basic philosophy. Bunts were invented in an era when scoring was very rare and misapplied routinely over the years.
    Last edited by mth123; 04-20-2011 at 06:24 AM.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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  12. #11
    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    I hated the sac bunt. I'm a fan of Paul Janish, but let's face it, he's the weakest hitter in the Reds lineup. Why waste an out in order to advance him 90 feet for your weakest hitter? If you're going to bunt in that situation then at least pinch hit for Janish.
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  13. #12
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    I didn't like the move, but my feeling is that the odds are so close on these situations, it's not worth getting upset about.

    As Atomic's post intelligently showed, the Reds had about a 30% chance of winning the game at that point. That's not very good and nothing Dusty did was going to vastly improve or reduce that.
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  14. #13
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    Tonight, Dusty sacrificed with Hanigan in the ninth inning. The tying run got to second but never scored.

    I'm generally neutral about sac bunting. It depends on the circumstances to me. Is the batter a DP candidate? Is the pitcher particularly tough? Is the batter a good bunter and is he a very good hitter, like a Votto, who should never bunt? These are a few of the considerations.

    Thinking about it, though, I really didn't like the bunt play tonight. GABP is such a home run paradise. Why take away the opportunity for Hanigan to park one over the short right field fence and win the game?

    IMO the bunt should be used sparingly in a home run ball park like GABP.

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    Ryan Hanigan isn't the kind of guy you should pin your HR hopes on.

  15. #14
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    Would putting in a pinch runner for Gomes and STEALING second be a better option? Taking the sac option out of play?

    I'll admit that I'm not a fan of leaving it up to Janish there, but you've also got to remember that Hanigan is in quite a slump too. He's hovering just over .200 IIRC. Meanwhile, while he's tailed off lately, Paul is still hitting over .300. That may have played a role in Dusty's thought process.
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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Sac bunting at GABP

    There was actually a pretty good discussion going in in the booth in that situation. I think it was Thom who mentioned why not hit and run in that situation. Then Welch said that was difficult because Putz missed too many bats and the runner could be hung out to dry. And when you consider that Putz is effectively wild it makes the challenge more difficult because the ball could be two feet out of the zone.

    I bunt. And I would bunt again in that situation. Even if it lowers your run expectancy in the inning it doesn't matter. If you don't score a run in that inning your win expectancy is 0. You need to score in order to keep the game going. The one issue I had was Janish being up to bat but he will have important at bats as the season goes along, you can't pinch hit for him. He just did not look comfortable at the plate in that situation.


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