It’s like a royal wedding for Boston. Kevin Youkilis is getting hitched to Tom Brady’s sister. Or so reports the Boston Herald.
And more notable than that news is the exact phrasing of the article which delivers it and the fact that it took three bylined writers to craft the prose:
This is supposed to be hush-hush and on the deep down-low, but you know us. It’s time to pop the bubbly because Kevin Youkilis and Tom Brady’s sis, Julie, are engaged!
The happy couple, who spent Super Bowl week together with the Brady clan in Indy, got engaged “recently” after dating for at least a year, we’re told from a few F.O.Ys.
I wish I was important enough to have friends with their own initials like that. “A few F.O.C.’s tell us that Calcaterra is going to eat leftover lasagna for dinner for the third straight night!” I guess one needs friends before that happens though. Yeah.
Less than two months until the first post of the morning is about baseball people. Less than two months.
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.