Thursday, May 7, 2009
Lopez: Can't or Won't Bunt?
It is really amazing to watch a major league hitter try to bunt and fail EVERY TIME. Has Jose Lopez ever successfully bunted a runner over? (I'm sure he has, but he fails every time I'm watching.) The latest fiasco was in the 5th inning of today's game vs KC. 2 on, 0 out. Great speed on the basepaths so all he has to go is bunt the ball fair. Lopez bunts the first pitch, an easy one to handle, foul. Then he watched a few more go by before eventually grounding into a double play. It would be understandable, considering their considerable power at the plate, if Branyan, Beltre and Griffey can't bunt. But Lopez and his non-bunting buddy Yuniesky Betancourt have no excuse. They have limited power and don't get on base very often.
While 60% of the blame has to fall on the players, the other 40% sits squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff. If you have hitters as bad as Yuni and Lopez you need to make sure they can bunt. If that means 30 minutes of bunting practice a day until they can do it, so be it.
In the case of Lopez it appears something else is going on. He doesn't seem interested in bunting. He quickly draws a strike or two in order to get the green light to swing away (and ground into a double play). That begs the question: Is Lopez refusing to bunt in a passive-aggressive way? Lopez is such a bad bunter that a Google search for "Jose Lopez Bunting" returns a picture of Jose Guillen bunting in a Mariner uniform. How about we send them both down to AAA until they are able to do what little leaguers across the country can do: Lay one down and move the runners over. We've been waiting for 3 years for the 3-run homer to save us. Enough is enough.
Posted by PP at 12:39 PM