Links and Notes: HE BUNTED?

Notes from last night’s game:

The Mets came from 6 runs down in the 7th inning to defeat the Nationals 8-7 yesterday. It is the first time since 2001 the Mets have overcome a 6+ run deficit in the 7th inning or later, and it is the first time this year the Mets have overcome a 6+ run deficit of any kind.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his first career pinch-hit home run last night. He is only the third Met to homer against Jonathan Papelbon. The other two were Omir Santos (2009, below) and Jordany Valdespin (twice, 2012 and 2013).

Though his bullpen imploded in the 7th inning last night, allowing six two-out walks, two two-out hits, and six two-out runs, Matt Williams received bad press from his inexplicable decision to bunt with a 3-1 count and Anthony Rendon at the plate in the ninth inning. Let’s review the reasons NOT to bunt:

  • Bunting with none out and a runner on first LOWERS his team’s average run expectancy.
  • Anthony Rendon is a top-5 MVP finisher from last season who has been getting hot at the plate.
  • Anthony Rendon is not an accustomed bunter.
  • Bryce Harper would come up next with an open base and a golden opportunity for the Mets to pitch around him.
  • With a 3-1 count, Rendon had a very strong probability of reaching base, whether by walk or by hit. He has a career .492 OBP after a 3-1 count.
  • While bunting DOES increase his chances of scoring one run to tie the game, such a move is only worthwhile if Williams has a strong bullpen to carry his team into extras. After using Matt Thornton, Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, Drew Storen, and Jonathan Papelbon, Williams only had his weaker arms left.

Rendon, as if on cue, bunted too hard right at Lucas Duda who got the force out at 2nd base. While Bryce Harper did end up walking to put the tying run into scoring position, 1st and 2nd with one out is the same sub-optimal situation Williams was shooting for in the first place. Say Rendon singles or walks, Familia pitches carefully to Harper, and walk him too. Suddenly the bases are loaded, no one out, where a simple batted ball could tie the game.

After the game, Matt Williams was booed out of his press conference (Apparently, a part of the stadium overlooks the press room – who thought this was a good idea?)

Alas, here was the internet’s reaction to yesterday’s game

Sports Illustrated, Beyond the Boxscore, Deadspin, Just A Bit Outside, ESPN, Hardball Talk, For The Win, SB Nation

Here are the other scores from around MLB, including Cubs over Cardinals, Texas gaining on Houston, and Toronto picking up a game on the Yankees.

Other stories:


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