The Red Sox finally have a diagnosis on right-hander Clay Buchholz, who was sent to the hospital and placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with was being described as a “gastro-intestinal illness.”
According to beat writer Tim Britton of the Providence Journal the 27-year-old starter has esophagitis, “which led to an erosion of the esophagus and an associated gastrointestinal bleed.” He’s expected to make a full recovery, but there is no mapped-out timetable for his return to major league action.
Buchholz has registered a 5.53 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and 58/34 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings this season.
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.