A sinkhole appeared behind the Rangers pitching mound

16 Comments

No, Michael Young didn’t return to Texas to play shortstop. It was a legit sinkhole:

A busted pipe under the infield at Rangers Ballpark has created a sinkhole right behind the pitcher’s mound.

On-field batting practice was canceled for both the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians while workers tried to fix the problem 2 1/2 hours before Tuesday night’s scheduled game.

They did fix it and it went off fine. Which caused the Indians to have to go out and win the game rather than rely on a man-made, Bull Durham-style rain delay to put a stop to their losing streak.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

Getty Images
3 Comments

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.