Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Welcome to the first ever edition of Baseball’s Unwritten Rules. On this segment we will discuss how the 2020 World Series Champions lost their cool over a bunt. Some might agree, some might not. It’s all really going to depend on how old you are.
Alright, let me take you back to Saturday night in Anaheim during game 2 of the coveted Freeway Series. Clayton Kershaw was on the mound in the bottom of the 5th inning with the Dodgers leading the Angels 13-0… Yes, you read that right. Tyler Ward was the batter and the Angels had a runner at first with one out. The Dodgers had a shift for Ward, a right-handed batter, Max Muncy was the only player on the right side of the infield.
So that’s the situation. One of the best pitchers of his generation on the most stacked team of the decade pitching with a 13 run lead vs a last-place team in early-May with the shift on to a player that has less than 300 career at-bats…
Kershaw and Roberts tyranny
By my tone, you already know where I’m heading here. It’s a complete joke that Clayton Kershaw and Dave Roberts were agitated by Tyler Ward trying to push-bunt a ball past Muncy on the right side of the infield. It’s even worse when you consider that Kershaw and Roberts are veterans of the game and considered ambassadors of the sport to an extent.
The part that utterly bewilders me is why they would be so upset at this because no logical reasoning makes sense. It’s obvious that they are mad that Tyler Ward is trying so hard to get a hit considering that the game is 13-0. I have so many problems with that reasoning.
Tyler Ward is public enemy number 1?
First off, Tyler Ward is 27 years old with less than 300 at-bats so he’s not getting any younger and his prime is quickly going to pass. Any hit that he gets, any impact he makes on the field is vital for him staying in the majors. So yeah excuse the guy for trying to get a hit even if his team is losing by 13 runs.
Second, if you’re reasoning for being mad at the play is that he is simply trying too hard to get a hit when his team is down by 13 runs then WHY ARE YOU TRYING SO HARD TO GET AN OUT BY PUTTING A SHIFT ON WITH A 13 RUN LEAD TO A PLAYER THAT HAS LESS THAN 300 AT-BATS? You cannot stand there righteously pretending that you are the only one that plays baseball the way it’s supposed to if you are getting mad at someone taking the “easy route” if you are literally doing the same exact thing. Putting on a shift is always an invitation for the batter to lay down a bunt and get a hit out of it. Don’t act surprised when someone still tries to get a hit this way even if they’re down by 13 runs.
I’m not trying, you’re trying! – Kershaw
Third, Clayton Kershaw is still pitching in a game where he has a 13 run lead against a last place team in the 5th inning. While I understand the desire to qualify for the win, Kershaw had to sit in the dugout for 30+ minutes on 2 occasions as the Dodgers berated the Angels’ pitching staff. At that point you’re just asking to get injured. It’s May, why are you going to such great lengths to qualify for a win when you have such a big lead? Seems to be the same motivation behind someone wanting a hit even if their team is down by 13. Even if he was trying to get the Dodgers out of the rut they’ve been in, it’s a 13 run lead so who really imagined they’d need him for longer. And he could have taken another short outing to go out in 3 days again to put them in contention in a much closer game?
Surprise. The world didn’t end with a bunt
Lastly, Ward gave Kershaw and the Dodgers an easy out… Why are they so mad? Maybe it’s because they have now lost 5 series in a row. But if Dave Roberts truly thinks is not a smart baseball move, then why is he complaining if his team got the easy out? Why not just take it and be happy? Seems to me that their reactions aren’t a smart baseball move…