Saturday, June 06, 2009

Gold Mine gem

Tigers catcher Gerald Laird caught some flak (and later was plunked) for bunting to lead off the sixth inning against Boston's Josh Beckett, who at the time was tossing a no-no, during a game earlier this week. Detroit was losing 4-0. Laird's attempt was foul.

So is it a no-no to bunt at that point in a no-hitter? I'd say not. Laird was trying to get something started for his team, which was struggling to get anything going.

Tonight, I was paging through the Bill James Gold Mine and came across this entry regarding Laird: "Gerald Laird 'bunted' .545 last year (six hits in 11 at-bats). He's bunted 49 times over the last three years, going 23-for-39 (.590) with 10 sacrifice."

Given those numbers, Laird was playing his game. It wasn't as though he was doing something out of the norm simply to break up Beckett's no-hitter. If this game was say 6-0 or 7-0 in the eighth or ninth inning and Laird bunted, perhaps that could be labeled bad form. But Laird's job is to help the Tigs, not aid Beckett's no-hit bid. Especially when the score still was such that Detroit could put itself in position to tie the game with one swing.

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