Friday, April 11, 2008

Ortiz and the Shift

There's been some talk over the airways the last few days about what David Ortiz should do against the shift. Some people think he needs to start going the other way to try to break out of his slump. Others point out, rightly so, that he's not paid to hit singles the other way. Personally, I've always thought he should try to bunt it down the line every once n a while. It has nothing to do with his recent slump, and everything to do with opening up the field for himself. The important thing to remember during this discussion is the person hitting behind him. His protection is in the form of a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer who, even after an off year, is one of the most feared hitters in the AL. there's an argument out there that if Ortiz bunts for a hit, the other team wins. I say having a baserunner on in front of Manny Ramirez is a win. Now, I'm not saying Ortiz should bunt every time up. And I'm certainly not suggesting he poke it down the left field line looking for a double. I don't want him messing with his swing like that. What I suggest is that he make it a rule to slap a bunt down once every couple games. If he picks his spots, it could help in the long run. Say, if he's leading off an inning. Or, when the Sox are trailing by a couple runs, and baserunners are needed. If Ortiz represents the tying, or go-ahead runs then swing away. But, if the Sox are down four, take the chance to beat the shift. Now, if other teams knew that there was at least a chance that he'd drop a bunt and get on base in front of Manny, don't you think they'd start relaxing the shift? Would it really be limiting Ortiz to drop a bunt once every 10 at bats? It it worse to reach base via a bunt than to ground out to a short fielder? 

I say bunt once a series, at least, and the other at-bats will be all the easier.

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