Mike Matheny calls for questionable bunt in seventh inning

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With the game still knotted at two apiece, the Cardinals started off on the right foot leading off the bottom of the seventh against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke. Yadier Molina, who hit .319 during the regular season, led off with a single to left field.

Molina, as you are likely well aware of, is not very fleet of foot, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny ordered Jon Jay to attempt to bunt Molina to second base. Instead, Jay bunted back to Greinke, who fired to second for the force out at second. It was questionable because Molina’s lack of speed makes it so Jay has to lay down a great bunt for the idea to be executed properly. Then, even if the bunt is successful, Molina isn’t fast enough to score from second base on most singles.

Bunting decisions get lambasted probably more than is warranted, but this is certainly one instance where it is deserved. It’s true that successfully bunting Molina moves a runner into scoring position while removing the double play possibility, but outs are a precious limited resource and they shouldn’t be burned simply because your lead-off base runner is slow.

Braves are targeting Dallas Keuchel

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LAS VEGAS — Let’s start our first weekday of the Winter Meetings with some rumors and speculation. We’ll have a good bit of that until, you know, something actually happens.

First up: Dallas Keuchel, the top free agent pitcher remaining on the market. Jon Heyman says the Braves, who are in the market for a starter, are targeting him. In this they are not alone, as the Phillies, who missed out on Patrick Corbin, and the Reds, who would like a pitcher who doesn’t allow a lot of fly balls are each reported to be focused on Keuchel as well. There was a random report that the Blue Jays were interested in him too, but that seems off to me given where they are on their rebuild.

Keuchel, who will turn 31 on New Year’s Day, was 12-11 in 34 starts last year, posting an ERA of 3.74 in 204.2 innings. His peripherals have declined fairly consistently since his Cy Young season in 2015, so the question is whether the team that signs him is paying for his past or for what he might reasonably be expected to provide in the future.