Tommy Hunter threw a “horsesh*t pitch”

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Orioles’ pitcher Tommy Hunter didn’t have a great outing last night.  But unlike some guys, he was not content to either hide from the media or to hide behind cliches about “not making my pitches.”

Nope, he had a pretty specific opinion of one of the pitches he left out over the plate for A.J. Pierzynski:

“Well, the one today was just a horsesh*t pitch in a horsesh*t spot. It was just horsesh*t. I don’t know how else to say it. It was a ball right down the middle of the plate that any big league hitter would be able to do that. I’m not taking anything away from Pierzynski. He put a good swing on it. Good for him. Tip your cap. But it was horsesh*t  on my part.”

Some things in baseball change a lot. But then some things don’t. Guys have been calling stuff “horse sh**” in the game forever, even though you don’t often hear that term spoken by civilians.  I’m kind of glad they still do, because it’s a great term.

But it’s a vexing one for me as a writer. Every fiber of my being wants to make it two words rather than a compound, but when I consulted Twitter on the matter the majority sentiment was that it should be one word (two if referring to actual equine feces as opposed to using it in the adjective form).  The strongest dissenter was Old Hoss Radbourn, who has good reasons for making it two words, but he does the same thing to “base ball” and that’s troubling for me.

Oh well.  I’ll let you guys decide. Henceforth, is it “horsesh*t” or “horse sh*t?”  I will let the majority of the readership rule. Because, after all, I write this horsesh*t for you guys.

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.