An interesting comment by DevilsAdvocate on Jerry Narron’s late (and I mean, really late) game strategy last night against the Dodgers:
Allow me to whine about Narron for a moment.
Let’s examine the endgame strategy. Okay, so in the ninth (last chance for the Reds, down 2-0) the first two runners reach in the person of Griffey and Conine. The next three hitters due are Gonzalez, Dunn, and Castro. The only guy left on the bench is Keppinger (assumption is Freel is unavailable with the flu-like symptoms).
So with two on and nobody out, down by two runs, Gonzalez bunts at the first pitch and pops it up for a useless out. What is the thought process here?
Let’s look at what happens if that goes according to plan. Gonzalez sacrifices the runners over, so 2nd & 3rd, one out for Dunn. Ostensibly this is to allow a single to score two runs, but this is Adam Dunn. He strikes out or homers – he has more extra-base hits than singles, and that’s typical for him. And with a base open in that situation, the Dodger closer isn’t going to give Dunn anything to hit. In fact, I think most likely he’d be walked (either intentionally or ‘unintentionally’) to face Castro, who’s hitting .148.
So the sacrifice bunt is really setting it up to depend on Castro, instead of getting two shots with Gonzalez and Dunn. If Castro doesn’t hit into a doubleplay, then Ross gets a chance. So instead of looking to Gonzalez and Dunn for something, this scenario depends on Castro and Ross to get a big hit. And that’s if the strategy works as planned, which it certainly did not when Gonzalez popped up the bunt.
I don’t understand.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.