For a guy who broke his ankle and his fibula while sky-diving for charity earlier this week Yankees general manager Brian Cashman seemed awfully upbeat about the whole thing yesterday.
“I feel surprisingly good,” Cashman said, via Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. “I’m not moving very well. I have no pain, which is surprising.”
Drugs are a helluva drug.
Cashman needed surgery to insert a plate into his leg and eight screws into his ankle, but did note that the injury making so many headlines enabled him to “take a negative and turn it into a positive” by drawing more attention to the Wounded Warriors Project.
There were probably ways to do that in which using crutches for two months weren’t required, but charity is charity I suppose. Oh, and Cashman also said he might do it again once he heals up.
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.