Re: How brilliant is Farrell?
posted at 10/18/2013 3:38 PM EDT
In response to maxbialystock's comment:
In response to pumpsie-green's comment:
In response to maxbialystock's comment:
I could not disagree more with the naysayers, who refuse to recognize the importance of telling the runner in the dugout that the purpose of the bunt was to get him to 3B, not 2B. How many times has any manager set that play up in exactly that way? I say again, a planned bunt to get a runner from 1B to 3B. Brilliant.
As for the Berry thing, I would simply counter that Middlebrooks was the better choice to prevent the Tigers from foreseeing the real danger of a bunt--not a runner on 2B with one out, but a runner on 3B with one out.
As for the play at 3B, there is no doubt in my mind Middlebrooks would have been safe in any case. Fielder, no surprise, threw to the wrong side of the base, on top of which Pena had to backhand the ball and then sweep all the way around in a clockwise manner--very awkward for a righty. No way he was going to put the tag on Middlebrooks in time.
It does occur to me that some of you guys seem to listen to Fox so that you will know what to think. If Fox says that play was all about umpire interference, then of course it must be. If Fox doesn't grasp the fact that this was a designed play and not simply Middlebrooks being opportunitistic, then of course it wasn't a designed play or wasn't worth mentioning.
Did I forget to mention that Cabrera had absolutely no problem fielding the bunt and throwing Ross out? Farrell has wisely refrained from using the bunt until the perfect opportunity to make it really work. Too bad Vic struck out swinging at two pitches in the dirt.
First, the Tigers are not stupid. They fully knew about the possiblity of the bunt. Since they knew its the obligation of the manager to put players into the game who are most likely to succeed in that circumstance. That player was Berry, not Middlebrooks. Second, I doubt it was a designed play so much as heads up baserunning by Middlebrooks. Berry would have done the same thing only faster. And third, no one would have made it to third base had their catcher done his job and covered third base. He got a very late start and even then nearly tagged Middlebrooks out.
Of course they knew Ross could bunt. What they didn't see was the possibility of a designed play to get the runner to 3B on one bunt. As for whether it was designed or not, I offer the following--
1. When you look at the replay, Middlebrooks not only doesn't slow down, he doesn't look back when he gets to 2B. No need to because he saw the bunt and had his instructions.
2. If getting to 3B wasn't the design, why send MBR out there? Bogaerts was perfectly capable of getting to 2B on the bunt. This is the key piece of evidence. Middlebrooks had to pinch run because he had instructions. Farrell had no way of conveying those to Bogaerts.
3. The bunt down the 3B line was perfect for exploiting the Tigers defense and getting MBR to 3B. Cabrera fielded it cleanly and threw Ross out, but then Fielder had to make the cross the diamond throw and the receiver was the catcher who had to run all the way from home plate. All of those actions were inevitable and predictable. Also worth noting--until the catcher raced down there, 3B was uncovered because Cabrera was by then far away from 3B.
As for Berry, he wasn't needed. If somehow the Tigers tied the score, Berry would still be availalble as a pinch runner for Ortiz or even to pinch hit for Victorino. It was after all a one run game.
To be honest, I would have been fine if Berry had been sent in to run for Bogaerts. But what I object to strenuously is the notion that Farrell didn't know what he was doing in the 9th inning last night. It was a brilliant strategem, and it worked to perfection.
We will never know, most likely, whether it was just a heads up baserunning job by Middlebrooks when he saw third base uncovered or a designed play. I would guess the former because had their catcher done his job and covered third base immediately there would BE no open base. He could EASILY beat Middlebrooks to third before Middy made it there because he started out at first base. Hard to believe a catcher doing his job cannot make it to third base before a baserunner on first base can make it to third. Truth is, the catcher got a slow break to third and DIDN'T do his job. And Farrell could just as easily have told Berry what the plan was as Middlebrooks. I think it was a mistake not to use Berry in that circumstance, be it a planned two base bunt or just heads up baserunning.