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Apparently it’s “weak” to bunt when CC Sabathia is pitching

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In the first inning of yesterday’s Red Sox-Yankees game, Sox second baseman Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Yankees starter CC Sabathia went to field it, picked it up but threw it away for an error, allowing Nunez to reach base. Two walks later the bases were loaded but then Sabathia bore down, struck out two batters and got out of the inning. He went on to pitch six strong ones and got the win.

After that second strikeout Sabathia was fired up and yelled something at the Sox’ dugout. Which, fine, heat of the moment and all of that. Some four hours later he was still salty about that bunt, though. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“Just kind of weak to me. It is what it is. It shows what they got over there,” Sabathia said. “It just gets you fired up. It makes you want to beat them. Obviously, I want to win every time I go out there, but even more so after that.”

Sabathia walked his next two batters. After getting consecutive strikeouts to escape a bases-loaded jam , he shouted in the direction of Boston’s dugout.

He said the Red Sox show him “too much respect.”

“Swing the bat,” the veteran pitcher said.

He added that he did not care if the Red Sox were upset and that if they take issue with him he’ll gladly fight them. So, yeah.

Sabathia said he was upset about the bunt because he believed the Sox assumed that, as a big guy, he couldn’t field his position. That’s possible, but it’s hard to deny that part of the motivation for it was because Sabathia has a gimpy knee. But either way, who cares? On what planet is it somehow “weak” or “unfair” for an opposing player to lay down a bunt?

If the tables were turned and a Red Sox hitter had an aching shoulder that, while not serious enough to keep him out of the lineup, caused him to have some difficulty getting around on inside pitches, Sabathia would most definitely bust him inside. It’s no different than a quarterback picking on a corner who looks a bit gimpy. If you’re healthy enough to be in the lineup, the opposition can and will assume that you’re healthy enough to play and should not treat you any differently than any other player.

No team is going to win a lot by bunting like crazy, but part of me wants to see Sabathia’s next opponent lay down four or five straight bunts just to get under his skin.

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.