Monday, February 8, 2016

Bunts on bunts on bunts

PITTSBURGH — The manager kept pounding his desk with his right hand. It wasn't because he was angry, but Charlie Manuel spoke with conviction and he wanted emphasis to his ideas. Manuel tends to talk this way.

Bunts on bunts on bunts

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Charlie Manuel is calling for more bunts from his injury-depleted lineup. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Charlie Manuel is calling for more bunts from his injury-depleted lineup. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

PITTSBURGH — The manager kept pounding his desk with his right hand. It wasn't because he was angry, but Charlie Manuel spoke with conviction and he wanted emphasis to his ideas. Manuel tends to talk this way.

He talks positively, as he should after three games, no matter what he's seen. That's why one thing he said was so interesting. 

"We're definitely lacking power, considering what we had in the past," Manuel said. "We've got to play right. I don't want our guys to think we can't score. Sometimes when we bunt in certain situations, it sends a message. I'm here because I was an offensive guy. I'm a true believer you get better because of confidence, and the manager has to show that."

After three games, the Phillies lead baseball with four sacrifice attempts and three successful sacrifices. They are tied for the lead with two bunt hits. They are third with five total infield hits.

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And they were rewarded with exactly one victory.

But listen to Manuel again. 

I don't want our guys to think we can't score. Sometimes when we bunt in certain situations, it sends a message.

Who, exactly, is he sending a message to?

That's for you to decide. Here's another stat: The Phillies have had 60 base runners. Only five have scored. That's eight percent and tied with Minnesota for the worst rate in baseball. Certainly, the Phillies have not come up with hits when needed. 

Could it be they're also giving away too many outs?

The lack of value some of their bunts have produced is well documented here by Todd Zolecki. Some bunts are warranted. Usually, most aren't.

As the Phillies come home, it'll be interesting to see what message Manuel wants to send.


Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

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