Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 5/2/17
I’ll preface the forthcoming rant by noting there are not sour grapes whatsoever involved. In fact, this game ended up as a Monday night winner for me. So the commentary here is not being written in anger.
Those of you who have read this space on a regular basis for the last several years were probably just counting down the days until I blew up thanks to what I adamantly believe to be one of the dumbest and most overused strategies in any sport. Yep, it’s an intentional out rant. For the uninformed, that’s my term for the dreaded sacrifice bunt.
Once again, as I’ve always done, this is not a universal condemnation of the intentional out ploy. There are times when it makes great sense. But on two occasions where it was used on Monday night by Craig Counsell and the Milwaukee Brewers, it was absolutely wrong.
Instance number one came with the Brewers leading 4-2. Runner on second, no one out. Hot hitting Manny Pina at the plate. He bunts to move the runner to third base, which I basically hate all the time. I understand that Pina’s current form is not likely to last, as there’s nothing in his profile to suggest he’s suddenly about to blossom into an offensive threat. But Pina has been hot lately and he was already 2/2 in this game against the Cardinals. Moreover, the on deck hitter was Jesus Aguilar, who is in a nasty slump. Aguilar’s last hit was on April 11. He’s 0/19 since. So the premise of an intentional out to set up an AB by a guy who can’t hit water from a rowboat right now made no sense to me. Result? Double play. And anyone who knows my feelings on bunting, which are well documented, knows this is not a second guess.
Let’s move to instance number two, which came in the tenth inning of the now tied game. Kolten Wong, who was simply awful last night for the Cardinals, boots an easy grounder to start the inning. Next up, Jonathan Villar. I was 100% sure that Villar would bunt. After all, it’s the “by the book” maneuver in this spot. Only it shouldn’t be, and here’s why. A successful intentional out here absolutely guarantees that the next hitter, Eric Thames, will be walked intentionally. I might be okay with this if Ryan Braun is going to be hitting behind Thames. But Braun wasn’t available due to his latest injury. So in effect, Counsell gave up his best stick for Domingo Santana. That is flat out stupid to me. Santana struck out.
Thankfully, the Brewers got lucky when the next hitter, Travis Shaw, annihilated a really bad pitch by Seung Hwan Oh and Milwaukee went up three runs.
I’m thrilled to have won this game, as it was a nice price. But I got lucky, and so did the Brewers, thanks to some pretty awful gaffes on the bases and with the glove by the aforementioned Wong. In other words, Milwaukee won in spite of itself.
Great start to the new month with a spotless 4-0 Monday. The guarantee with my May baseball special is an absolute knockout, one I’m quite confident no one else is offering. If you want the details, email me at email@example.com or you can simply purchase the package via the dropdown menu on this page.
Good work by the Cavaliers in an easy winner on the Monday free play. Tuesday’s comp is NOT a personal play as of now, albeit that could change during the day. If that’s the case, I’ll note as such on Twitter (@davecokin). But as of now, please consider this as simply an added opinion.
WIZARDS at CELTICS
Take: WIZARDS +5.5
The advocates of the old NBA Playoff ZigZag theory will love the Wizards tonight. That’s if there are any advocates of that theory remaining.
I have to state that while I have no problem with backing long term winning situational angles, my ardent belief is that once they become popular with the recreational bettors, they’re generally toast. And so it has gone with the old ZigZag.
However, I do see the Wizards with a pretty good chance to rebound from the Game One loss to the Celtics. Boston exploded in the third quarter of Sunday’s series opener, and broke what had been a close game wide open.
The Wizards simply have to play better perimeter defense than they did in Game One, don’t they? Put another way, if Boston is able to hit 19 treys again tonight, Washington will be going home down 0-2. So I sure expect to see a more concerted effort by the Wizard defenders tonight.
This looks like a tossup game to me, so I lime the idea of grabbing a couple possessions with Washington. I think my biggest concern might well be the fact that the Wizards will be popular with the betting public tonight. Nevertheless, while again noting this is currently NOT a personal play for me, I’m compelled to at the very least issue a lean on the Wizards plus the points.