The low point (Death Valley) in yesterday’s finale in SF came in the 5th inning, when the Nats had runners on the corners with pitcher Blake Treinen coming to bat with NO OUTS. The smart move there is to have him lay down a bunt to get the runner from first to second. Then they have the top of the order coming up with 2 runners in scoring position. Great! But then we find out Treinen failed “bunting 101” in Spring Training! Incredible. How could a detail-focused manager like Matt Williams let that small fact slip by him?
I was a pitcher through college and I still remember the drills in “Pony League” (now called “Babe Ruth” league) when I was 13. The coach (it could have been Bud Younger, who once pitched at the AAA level) pitched to our group of young hurlers as we practiced bunting until we likely went home with blisters on both hands. To this day I rarely fail to get a bunt down when the situation calls for it.
Anyhow, I watched in disbelief as Treinen had THREE CHANCES at bunting and missed them all! The next batter then hit a groundball that would have scored one run for sure and tied the game, keeping the inning going. But since the bunt attempt failed, the ground ball instead resulted in an inning-ending double play. The “little things” will derail many a good team.