Baltimore Orioles need to return to fundamentals
The Baltimore Orioles are a power-hitting club. This much we know, and we’ve known for some time. However I saw something in Monday’s NLDS Game Three at Wrigley Field that the Orioles should consider taking up.
Old school baseball, in the form of bunting. In general, I’m not a fan of giving up outs. That’s just not how you win games in the AL East. And I think there’s a chance that if the wrong team tried to play that type of game they could risk getting bludgeoned to death. But there are also two sides to every story.
Following a lead off walk in the last of the eighth inning, Chicago bunted the runner into scoring position. Later in the inning with two outs, that runner scored on a bloop RBI-single. In general a runner at second base might not score on a blooper. However keep in mind that with two outs the runner was going on contact.
That all served the Chicago Cubs well, and they won the game 2-1 – with that as the winning run. Imagine that – a small fundamental part of the game ended up winning it for a team. And in a post season game at that. Tough to be in a bigger spot.
And keep in mind that the Cubs are a power-hitting club as well. That’s their bread and butter, just like the Orioles. So with that said, would the Orioles really stand to lose much if they took up that type of bunting in games? Look at it this way, the Birds won 75 games this year. If they would have put on a play like that and scored even one more run in certain games, they would have gone from one-run losses to ties. And all bets are off then – if you end up winning those games, suddenly you’ve had a .500 season.
Again, this type of small-ball mentality would never work in the AL East in general. Many National League teams start playing that game from the early innings. The O’s would get run out of the park if they tried that. But obviously in a late-game spot where you need one run, it’s worth trying.
Odds are had the Orioles of 2017 tried to do that bunt play, they’d end up with two strikeouts, a fly-out, and maybe a base hit. The inning would have ended with runners at the corners. So…what’s the better alternative?