In the second game of last week's series against the Red Sox, we had to face All-Star pitcher Josh Beckett(notes). As he usually is, Beckett was dominating and tough to hit. Headed into the seventh inning, he had a no-hitter going against us.
He was locating all his pitches on both sides of the plate and very few were down the middle of the plate, which made him very effective. Finally, in my third at-bat against him, I got a ball that caught more of the middle of the plate and I didn't miss it, hitting it to right field for the first hit of the game. When I got to first base, our coach Andy Van Slyke said to me, 'You finally got a ball down the middle of the plate.' He knew, if a pitcher is locating as well as Beckett was on Wednesday night, a no-hitter is always a possibility.
I didn't really approach the at-bat any differently. Of course, when it's that late in the game you know what the pitcher is trying to accomplish. But if I put pressure on myself to break up a no-hitter instead of hitting a good pitch, then more often than not I will end up creating another out.
People have debated if it was acceptable for Gerald Laird(notes) to attempt a bunt in the sixth inning to try and break up the no-hitter. There are traditionalists who feel that no matter what, if it is a no-hitter, bunt attempts are unacceptable.
However, I look at it this way — the name of the game is to try and win the game. If bunting is a part of your game, like it is for Gerald, why not try a bunt? I have always been confused by all these unwritten rules in baseball that make no sense to me. The bunt to break up a no-hitter, stealing a base when your team is up a lot of runs or down a lot of runs, bunting when your team is up or down a lot of runs are all things you can be heavily criticized for.
But if it's a part of your individual game, why not do it? If Gerald would have bunted in his first at-bat which came in the third inning to break up the no-hitter, is that OK? If it is, then why isn't it OK in his second or third at-bats, which come later in the game?
It seems that as long as you do something early in the game or when the game is close, it's OK, but if it's later in the game and either the score is out of whack, or an individual accomplishment is on the line, then you can't do it.
But there's a reason why you as the hitter are 0-for-2 and there aren't any hits up to this point, so you have to try something different. I have no problem if anyone does it on our team or an opposing team against us. We are paid to pitch, hit, run and also play defense. A bunt is a hit and has to be defended. It's part of the game.
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Curtis Granderson plays center field for the Detroit Tigers and his blog will appear regularly on Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew during the 2009 season. Make sure to check out and support his Grand Kids Foundation.
Previous Posts: Sweet home, Chicago (May 14) The catch in Cleveland (May 11) Impressive ballpark amenities (April 29) Handling A 10-Game Road Trip (April 22) Cautious About Identity Theft (April 14) Season's High Hopes (April 6)