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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mark Teixeira would not bunt for a single against the shift, down two, 9th inning, tying run on deck.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi did not order Mark Teixeira to bunt. Mark Teixeira did not even consider bunting even though a single was almost a sure thing against the extreme shift. Mark Teixeira wanted to preserve his inalienable right to hit a home run even if a home run could not even tie the game. Here are the basic facts.

Sunday, June 28, 2015, 2:10pm, Minute Maid Park
Attendance: 31,961, Time of Game: 2:24
Astros 3, Yankees 1

Top of the 9th, Yankees Batting, Behind 1-3, Astros' Luke Gregerson facing 2-3-4

Chase Headley Groundout: 2B-P (2B-1B)
Alex Rodriguez Groundout: 2B-1B (SS-2B)
Mark Teixeira Groundout: 1B unassisted

The game ended with Brian McCann and Garrett Jones waiting to hit, two lefty power hitters who could have tied the game or put the Yankees ahead with a home run.

Both Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira are switch hitters who batted lefty against righty pitcher Luke Gregerson.  So Houston was playing the extreme infield shift against both Headley and Teixeira.  Against righty Alex Rodriguez it's largely mute since Rodriguez has at least implicit permission to save his legs and not run hard.

I could rip Headley as much as Teixeira in this case but Headley has bunted a couple of times since joining the Yankees in late July 2014.  Plus, for a couple of years Teixeira has repeatedly and explicitly insisted that he would not bunt against the shift.  Girardi has done nothing to force Teixeira to do it.

Shame on both Girardi and Teixeira.

Teixeira has made a big comeback in 2015: 18 homers in 244 at bats: 244/18=13.55.

BA: .246
OBA: .354
SLG: .529
OPS: .883
OPS+: 142

Very good.  But if Teixeira could match my minimum estimate for a Major Baseball League (MBL) non-pitcher bunting into a large area with no fielders, he would have:
BA: .500
OBA: .500
SLG: .500
OPS: 1.000

Mickey Mantle and others who bunted for hits. Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mickey Mantle batted .527 for all of his regular season plate appearances I could find that ended in a bunt.  My many 2014 posts encouraging the likes of Mark Teixeira to bunt against the extreme shift assumed that any big league non-pitcher should be able to achieve a .500 batting average (BA) bunting against the extreme shift.  It turns out that research had been done on all batters back to 1950 and that a .500 BA was low among the best.  And this was for batters against whom the fielders were positioned to defend against an attempt for a bunt single...

Mickey Mantle bunting 1950s
James Gentile Dec 10, 2012: "players who had most often bunted themselves aboard in their careers ... Lee Mazzilli ... Don Blasingame rate of Reaching Base while bunting with the bases empty ... 88.3%" (BA: .883)

Mark Teixeira: smart or dumb hitting against the shift? Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dumb.  And boring.


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