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Monday, April 05, 2004

A Thought On The Oakland-Texas Game 

In the bottom of the fifth, Bobby Kielty led off with a double for the A's. Eric Chavez batted next, and made a productive groundout to second, moving Kielty to third. Situational hitting like Chavez displayed is often criticized as a waste of an out, and in many instances it very well could be, such as with a sacrifice bunt with no outs to move a runner from first to second. I think the hit-to-the-right-side approach to move a runner over is very worthwhile, however. For one, it's relatively easy to accomplish the goal -- advancing the runner to a better scoring position -- particularly for a left-handed hitter. All he's got to do is pull the ball, which for many lefties comes naturally. Unlike a sacrifice bunt, though, where the offense is giving away an out, hitting the ball to the right side leaves a reasonably high percentage that the ball will find a hole somewhere for a hit. In other words, the worst-case scenario is still positive, and the best-case scenario can lead to a big inning. This is one example where the "old-school" of baseball thinking gets it right.

By the way, the next hitter, Jermaine Dye, shot a grounder through the drawn-in Ranger infield, scoring Kielty and putting the A's ahead 3-2.

One study I'd like to see is the percentage of balls hit to the right side with a man on second and no outs that fall for hits. Another I'd like to see is how often a drawn-in infield backfires.

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