Thu Apr 29 12:56pm EDT
Any Angels fans out in Southern California want some low-quality whine?
Yes? Well then check out the sour grapes being picked by Cleveland pitcher Chris Perez after Howie Kendrick won Wednesday's game for the Halos with a two-out, RBI bunt in the ninth inning.
"It was a bad baseball play that happened to work out. I don't want to say it was bush league. But you never see that. Ninety-nine percent of hitters in that situation would rather win the game with a hit, not a bunt.
"It was a stupid play that just happened to work."
Uh, not only did it work, it won the game for the Angels. And the victory will count the same in the standings as a win that would have been gained by Kendrick putting a Perez pitch in the gap. All unwritten rules or code go out the window when the game's on the line, so there's no need for Perez to gripe or for the Angels to apologize.
Now was Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, who was filling in for the ejected Mike Scioscia, taking a risk by telling Kendrick to be open-minded toward a bunt? Sure. There's a large degree of difficulty in executing a play that requires one more step —beating the throw to first — than the suicide squeeze that sometimes ends a ballgame. There was a small margin of error and it's one of those plays you should be pretty sure about before springing.
But upon reaching the plate, Kendrick correctly noted that Russell Branyan and Luis Valbuena were playing too deep. If anything was stupid about the play, it was that the Indians' right side of the infield assumed that a good runner like Kendrick wouldn't try such a thing. (With a runner already at first, Valbuena was playing deep to keep the force out at second alive.)
Perez says he doesn't want to call the play "bush league," but I think him uttering those words shows he doesn't have a high opinion of the way the Angels won the game.
The bottom line, though, is that Los Angeles found a way to win. Tip your hat and move on.
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