A lot more came out of Camden Yards on Sunday afternoon than a sluggish offense that collected just nine hits and five runs in 29 innings in the opening series of 2018.
While the Orioles were busy losing the final two games of their weekend series, the Minnesota Twins were busy reading the unwritten rules of the game and messing their diapers over a play they thought shouldn’t have happened.
With one out in the ninth inning and the Orioles trailing 7-0, Chance Sisco came to the plate facing a typical shift seen by a number of pull-happy lefties. Never mind that the left-handed catcher had collected the Orioles’ only hit of the game on a long double to the opposite field earlier in the game.
Facing that shift, Sisco laid down a perfect bunt and reached on an infield single. Chris Davis walked as the next batter, and Manny Machado singled to center to load the bases for the heart of the order, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones. A couple of hits would have likely put the Orioles back in the game, but Schoop popped out and Jones fanned to end the contest.
Apparently, Sisco’s bunt was too much for the Twins to handle. After the game, second baseman, Brian Dozier was critical of the play, telling Rhett Bollinger (among others) that, “Obviously, we’re not a fan of it. He’s a young kid. I could’ve said something at second base but they have tremendous veteran leadership over there.”
Starting — and winning in a complete game shutout, mind you — pitcher Jose Berrios was also upset, telling Bollinger, “I don’t care if he’s bunting. It’s just not good for baseball in that situation. That’s it.”
Did I miss something here?
I have played, watched, and studied baseball all of my life, and I have never heard that trying to get on base by any means necessary when down big, regardless of the inning, is “bush league.”
To that point, why is it not being talked about that Byron Buxton was stealing second up by six in the fifth inning? Why was it okay for the Twins to implement a shift in the ninth inning up by seven? So they’re allowed to play a defensive scheme that makes it that much harder for a lefty to get a hit, but then the hitter can’t combat it by “hitting it where they ain’t?”
With rumors now swirling that Sisco could wear one in the next series in July, Dozier should have just taken his two home runs and the Twins their series victory and headed home.
What is ultimately bad for baseball is bean-ball warfare.
Just ask the Orioles.
They know a thing or two about it.