Had to question this one — Carlos Ruiz singles in the seventh inning (by the way, nice game, Chooch). Charlie Manuel decides to pinch hit Cole Hamels and go with So Taguchi against Greg Maddux.
Taguchi bunts — a pop-up. Ruiz goes nowhere. No runs in the seventh.
Yeah, horrible, horrible, horrible move. Two things:
- With Maddux in and no lefty ready, why not go with Greg Dobbs? He’s your extra-base hit guy, he’s the best pinch hitter in baseball. Put him in, see if he can plate Ruiz.
- Okay, so no Dobbs. Well why bunt Taguchi? What’s the purpose of that? If you’re going to bunt, why not just leave in Hamels for the at bat?
The move didn’t bite Manuel in the butt last night, but it sure had a lot of people scratching their heads. Maybe Manuel was going for a psych-out with Taguchi’s bunt … maybe he was trying to catch the Dodgers sleeping. But that’s overthinking it.
As a final note, I feel it’s more important to give Taguchi that at bat so he can get his work. Right now we’re saying the only work Taguchi has had since Sept. 28 is a one-pitch pop-up bunt out. Give the guy a chance to do some damage in a postseason spot. That was the spot. Manuel misfired.