Jerry Manuel says the Mets "appeared unprepared" for Livan Hernandez

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Even for as big a hater as I am, I would not have guessed that things would get ugly in New York as quickly as they have this season.  Yesterday Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel said “I thought we appeared unprepared and I have to take responsibility for
that. … I’m talking about having the information but not trusting it
for the most part.”

Criticize Manuel if you want, but what he’s really saying here — borne out by reports that he lit into the team behind closed doors after the game — is that he and his staff told the players to expect Livan Hernandez to throw his usual assortment of tired old junk and that no one appeared to pay any heed.

Sleeping on a guy like Livan Hernandez and/or ignoring the manager on the first Sunday game of the season? Not pretty.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.