Joe Maddon: “I think the bunt is an overrated play.” (somebody wake up Kristina Akra…we have another half-baked show to do!)
Following another dreadful performance with runners in scoring position during a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wasn’t making excuses.
He wasn’t second-guessing himself, either.
“For that group of people out there that want guys to bunt all the time, you don’t know the outcome when you choose to do that,” Maddon said, of choosing not to bunt with two runners on base and no outs in the ninth inning, and again following a leadoff double in the 10th. “I think the bunt is an overrated play.”
The Rays, losers of four of five games, are now 0 for their last 17 with runners in scoring position. They went 0 for 11 Saturday.
“That’s the true issue right there,” Maddon said. “We had some good at-bats, but we had opportunities that we just came up empty. And thats really the tale of the game, is the inability to drive in the run because they were out there to be driven in.”
Jose Molina led off the 10th with a double off Junichi Tazawa (2-0) and was replaced by pinch runner Kelly Johnson. Tazawa, though, got Matt Joyce to fly out before recording the final two outs.
“I would bunt in the circumstance when you feel like the people on deck and in the hole are the guys you’re looking for against that particular pitcher,” Maddon explained. “For instance, I thought Loney had the best chance to hit against Uehara. And Matt Joyce is hitting right there. I don’t want Matt to bunt the runner to third base. I’d rather have him try to pull the ball right there and score the run and move him, or both.
“The guys hitting afterwards are not really tearing the ball up right now. So again, it’s the outcome by situation, where if James gets a base hit, it was the right move, but he did not.”