I got interested in the Mets game last night because of the pitching. Their new phenom faced 28 batters in nine innings, yielding no walks and one barely-a hit. The game ended in the bottom of the tenth as follows:
Ike Davis singles. The next batter bunts him to second. A pinch hitter lines a hit to right and Davis scores.
Sounds like the Met’s fine manager made a few obvious decisions in the tenth to ion the game. But there’s more to it than that. Ike Davis is a very slow runner. I’m sure he could run the bases faster than I, but that’s not saying much. His slow running could have meant he was unable to score from second on that hit. Worse, what if he came lumbering around third determined to score, and collided with the catcher, risking another season-ending injury?
A good bunt can move any runner from first to second. But what if the bunt was barely okay?
The Mets used twelve players in this game. They had a whole bunch of guys on the bench, some more expendable than Davis and all of them faster. It’s worth noting that their manager did not substitute a pinch runner for Davis. Why didn’t he do it? I’m afraid I know the answer.
Terry Collins was well aware of the Mets’ nefarious ways. I’m sure he was thinking far ahead. Like this:
Suppose the score is nothing to nothing in the twelfth inning. We’ll need Davis’s bat.
And suppose the score is nothing to nothing in the fifteenth inning. We’ll still need Davis’s bat.
And suppose the score is nothing to nothing in the seventeenth inning. We’ll still need Davis’s bat.
Suppose the score is nothing to nothing in the nineteenth inning... I better leave him in the game.