Tony Cingrani spent 11 days on the disabled list from late August to early September because of a lower back strain. And the issue won’t go away.
According to beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the rookie left-hander was lifted from his start Tuesday night against the Cubs with back spasms. Cingrani surrendered two earned runs on three hits and a walk over just 1 2/3 innings.
The Reds had been planning to use right-hander Johnny Cueto as a long reliever upon his expected mid-September return from a severe right lat strain, but if Cingrani’s back problems don’t fade Cueto may have to be pushed back into the starting rotation.
Cingarni, 24, owns a 2.92 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 120/43 K/BB ratio in 104 2/3 frames 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.