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.