Dallas Braden loses his cool at anti-violence meeting

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A’s left-hander Dallas Braden kind of looked like he wanted to hurt someone, which is more than a little ironic given that he’s angry about the increased violence and the lack of response from the police force in his hometown of Stockton, California.

CBS Sacramento has the video, which includes an impromptu interview with a bat-toting Braden. He says his grandmother was recently robbed in Stockton, and he was later attacked while in his car. He’s so displeased with the conditions in Stockton that he’s moving to Sacramento.

“I’m outta here, because I’ve been lied to my entire life here,” Braden said. “I’ve already put my home on the market. I’m out.”

Braden is best known for telling Alex Rodriguez to get off his mound and for throwing a perfect game, two events that happened a couple of weeks apart in 2010. He’s mostly been injured since, as shoulder problems limited him to three starts in 2011 and cost him all of 2012. He had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff last month.

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.