Surprise: Sox tied for A.L. lead in sacrifice bunts

Surprise: Sox tied for A.L. lead in sacrifice bunts
June 7, 2012, 9:41 pm
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BOSTON -- As an organization, the Red Sox typically don't endorse thesacrifice bunt, believing that it's not a sound utilization of an out.

But more than one-third of the way through the season, theSox are tied with the Angels for the most sacrifice bunts in theAmerican League.

Bobby Valentine used it Wednesday night when the Sox hadrunners at first and second and no out with Darnell McDonald,trailing Baltmore 2-1.

McDonald executed the bunt and moved both baserunners intoscoring position, but the Sox couldn't get a hit to score either.

Valentine was asked what factors he takes into considerationbefore putting a bunt play on.

"The personnel (factors into the decision),'' he said. "(Havingthe) bottom of the order (due up) will dicate . . . guys who can bunt. . .The guys who are on base to advance quick enough if there's a bunt. . .if the other team's bullpen has been used a lot the day before...There's a lots of things that go into it. . .It would be Tom-fooleryto think of it as just one thing.

"I don't particularly like to bunt, but I think it's a very usefulweapon at times. It keeps you out of double plays, for sure. I don'tlike to give away outs. I don't think it's a great idea. It's greatwhen you're staying away from two outs.''

Valentine said, despite the number of sacrifice bunts with whichthe Sox have been credited, Wednesday's bunt with McDonald "may havebeen the only sacrifice that was asked for (from the dugout). Everybody'sbeen told, 'If there's a bunting a sacrifice situation, bunt forit.' That's all we do.''

Almost as an afterthought, Valentine appeared to call out MarlonByrd, who struck out for the second out.

"If that fastball that was down the middle was thrown to thenext hitter (Byrd) was swung at,'' mused Valentine, "I bet you we wouldall be saying, 'God, it would have been great to win that game, 3-2.But it was taken instead.''