On Saturday, I went to the Lakewood BlueClaws’ game against the Rome Braves, a matchup of two sub-.500 teams with few top prospects in either lineup. The game started out great for Lakewood, with starter Victor Santos retiring the first 10 Braves to face him.
And then Andrew Moritz, Rome’s No. 2 batter, reached on a bunt single.
Does this go against the “honor” of the game, bunting with nobody on in the fourth inning of a 0-0 contest? I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t even think bunting in the ninth of a 0-0 game is out of line. As long as the outcome of the game is in doubt, and your team is within reach, why would bunting for a hit in the ninth be any different from doing it in the first or the fourth? A bunt to break up a no-hitter when you’re down seven runs in the ninth is a bit more questionable, a way to get a cheap hit just to avoid that zero in the Hits column.
In the end, the bunt didn’t play into the outcome of the game. Mortiz was caught stealing, and Santos then got a flyout to escape the inning, having faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Ben Pelletier homered for a 1-0 Lakewood lead, but Santos couldn’t hold it, allowing two runs in the top of the fifth. That score would hold in a 2-1 Rome victory.
Here are a few more shots from the game (click any image to enlarge) …