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Just The Sports: Second-Guessing Willie

Just The Sports

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Second-Guessing Willie

With the score tied at zero in the bottom of the ninth and after David Wright has drawn a leadoff walk, Jose Valentin steps into the batter's box. Valentin has a .282 GPA (Gross Product Average) for the season and is slugging, mind you, .530. Against right-handed pitchers (Michael Wuertz was pitching for the Cubs), he has a .288 GPA and .534 SLG. Willie Randolph, the Mets manager, obviously laughs in the face of high slugging percentages and relays the signal to his third base coach who then relays it to Valentin that he wants him to bunt. Randolph makes this decision despite the fact that he knows he has Xavier Nady and Ramon Castro coming up after Valentin.

Nady is not awful against righties this season possessing a .264 GPA and slugging .495, but Valentin is the better of the two and should not have been asked to bunt no matter what Willie Randolph has seen other managers do over the course of his baseball life. Ramon Castro's bat is not even worth mentioning so I won't.

The end result? Valentin fouls out on a bunt attempt, Nady flies out to center, and Castro grounds out to second.

And no, I am not just typing this after the fact. After Valentin first angled his bat in a bunt attempt, I began writing this post and I was going to continue even if the Mets have scored because even if this foolish stunt had succeeded, it does not change the fact a team would be better off letting their best hitter out of the next three swing away, especially when the next two hitters are successively worse.


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