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.

Me, either.

6 Responses

  1. RedsFanInMd

    I agree. Especially since Gonzalez has been one of the better hitters so far this year. Gonzalez is just as likely to hit a three-run homer too and you know they are going to pitch with him wiht runners on first and second.

  2. Jared

    I don’t agree with that at all. Dunn doesnt “strike out or homer” — he strikes out a lot, and he homers a lot, but he’s been making a lot more contact this year. It’s definately easy enough for him to put a ball in play and score a run and advance the runner from second, at least.

  3. Y-City Jim

    Billy Beane would fire his manager for doing that.

  4. preach

    They will not pitch to Dunn with a base open and with the tying runs on. Period. Especially with no one left on the bench. Gonzo should not have been called on to bunt in that situation, and I am one of the biggest advocates of small ball you will find. Even in the situation where he grounds into a double play (worst case scenario) you have Dunn coming to the plate as the tying run. If your strategy works you have taken the bat out of one of the leagues best power hitters in the ninth. With that said, it pains me to watch a middle infielder pop up a bunt (once again, I like small ball). You have got to get the runners over with an effective bunt if that is what you are called upon to do. I think that I would always prefer to see Gonzo/Dunn up to bat with runners on first and second as opposed to Ross/Castro with runners on second and third.

    …stupid pop up bunt….

  5. Chris

    I had just warmed up the XM for a few minutes at the campground when they started the 9th. Of course, with Narron, I had no clue what the batting order was, but figured that with Dunn following Gonzalez, it was a HORRIBLE move. That was really confirmed when I realized that Castro was in the lineup (we miss you, Eddie), and really, really confirmed when Castro got to bat. The only way that move makes ANY sense is if LLM is available to bat for Castro, and even then, it’s 98% stupid.

    As a manager, your job is to put your players in the best position to succeed, and to let your best players win ballgames for you. Narron chose to put his team’s chances in the hands of Juan Castro, and not Alex Gonzalez and Adam Dunn.

    That’s poor managing, and he’s lucky nobody back home was awake to see it.