He's Not Bunting, Is He?
It was Elimination Day in baseball on Sunday … so let’s write two! We begin with the Phillies and Padres. Astros and Yankees to follow soon.
I guess we start with the bunt, right?
The late, great Joe Nuxhall used to say — at least once per baseball broadcast and often more than once — “If you swing the bat, you’re dangerous.” Those were the words that came to mind in the final inning of the San Diego-Philadelphia NLCS.
The situation was simple: Philadelphia led 4-3 after Bryce Harper hit a magnificent, opposite-field home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Phillies brought in 37-year-old David Robertson to close the deal and send the team to the World Series; Robertson has been a fine pitcher over his 14 years in the big leagues, but I imagine he didn’t fill Philadelphia fans with confidence.
Still, it was the lower part of the Padres’ lineup coming to the plate. Robertson began by striking out Wil Myers on what certainly looked like a gift strike-three call. That meant Brandon Drury, Ha-Seong Kim, Trent Grisham and Austin Nola were due up — combined the four had hit .229 and slugged .363. The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Padre nine.
But Robertson was less than brilliant himself. After getting a swinging strike from Drury, he threw four straight balls to put the tying run on. He then had a seven-pitch battle with Kim that ended with a ball four that was roughly two feet out of the zone. That put the winning run on.
The Phillies called for Ranger Suárez, which sounds like something they would do on a kid’s show when the characters are stumped about how to deal with a severe problem such as how to pronounce words with the “ea” blend in the middle.
And Trent Grisham stepped to the plate for the Padres.