San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – July 23, 2009 – ESPN

When smart-alecky people like me, who never played the game, say that the bunt is a bad play, what we really mean is that the sacrifice bunt, if used and fielded correctly, produces fewer runs than hitting away. However, this breaks down when the defensive team doesn’t accept the proferred sacrifice, because the attempt to give away an out for a base often turns instead into a base and a baserunner. In other words, take the out, stupid.

In the eighth inning of what I will call today’s “game” because this is a family website, the Atlanta Braves presented a stirring example of stupidity and ineptitude rarely seen in Atlanta since the introduction of New Coke. I speak not of Mike Gonzalez, who entered a 1-1 game to start the inning, and was hit with a line drive that turned into a single and was forced to leave the game, though he probably shouldn’t be giving up line drives on 0-2 pitches. I speak of Casey Kotchman, alleged gold glove-quality first baseman (“no errors in an Atlanta uniform!”) who suffered a complete brain-lock when the ensuing hitter attempted to gift the Braves with an out, lollygagged when he discovered there was no chance for the out at second, and was late throwing to first, for an alleged “hit”. He left the game on a double-switch (for Kelly Johnson, back on the roster in place of Brooks Conrad, instead of Greg Norton, even though Norton is awful and in fact ended the game today; I suspect Bobby had a hissyfit after the Braves originally planned to DFA Norton), bringing an end to History’s Worst Hitting Streak.

I also speak of Peter Moylan who apparently [deleted because it’s possibly an ethnic slur] and who, when fielding the next bunt, instead of just taking the out at first base, looked at third, forcing him to rush the throw to first, which he then threw off the batter’s helmet, allowing a run to score and turning the Giants’ miserable attempts to scratch out a single run into a big inning. By the end of the inning, four runs had scored, all while Moylan was in the game. Only two runs were charged to Moylan, only one of them “earned”, even though the entire thing was almost all his fault.

The Braves’ only run scored on a solo homer by — who else? — Yunel in the second. They had several scoring opportunities because of walks, but had only six hits, only three off of starter Barry Zito and three in the last two innings off the bullpen, already down four runs. One was a two-out double in the ninth with nobody on by pinch-hitter Brian McCann, and it sure is a good thing he was saved for that crucial situation.

Kenshin Kawakami was limited to five innings largely due to control issues, as he threw 97 pitches, 58 strikes. Apparently, the umpire had one of those unusual strike zones that resembles a modern art sculpture, but I didn’t see for sure. At any rate, Bobby was thrown out in the sixth for “arguing balls and strikes” when Yunel was called out on a strikeout-throwout DP on a 3-2 pitch that was apparently high. Arguing balls and strikes is allegedly an automatic ejection, but everybody argues balls and strikes so if you actually enforced this rule you’d wind up with all forfeits, so what it really is is an “umpires can eject anyone they want at any time and MLB won’t do anything about it” rule.