Jayson Werth said he decided to bunt with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth of a 2-2 game.
“I tried to surprise them because that was the last thing that anybody was thinking about.”
Charlie Manuel said he wanted Werth to swing, but:
“If he gets the ball more towards third base, I’d be telling you it was a hell of a play.”
It’s a dumb move. As I wrote before, Werth is the team’s most patient hitter. Moreover, Kevin Gregg had intentionally walked Ryan Howard, then hit Pat Burrell with his first pitch. Gregg was asked to get rattled and Werth gave him a gift.
Also, with the Phils on the road, the mentality must be to win and win big. Werth should be swinging for an extra-base hit in that situation. Get the runs, bring in Brad Lidge, shut down the Fish and go back up by four games. Instead the play falters, Tom Gordon comes in and the Fish are within two. You don’t want to have to look back on the season and say “If only Werth didn’t bunt, this team could’ve won the division.” We’ll never say, “If only Werth bunted, this team could’ve won the division.”
In the same situation a half-inning later, Dan Uggla had the right idea, and that paid off.