Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander carried a perfect game into the sixth inning Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners. And it ended when Mariners speedster Jarrod Dyson bunted for an infield single.
A bunt?! In a perfect game?!
Around baseball there was some pearl-clutching. Bunting to break up a no-hitter or perfect game is one of those things that will cause actual smoke to flow from the ears of the unwritten-rules folks. The soapbox-standers had a lot to concern themselves with Wednesday, what with Yasiel Puig admiring a home run and all.
We’re here to tell you that this one is all hogwash — as are most things having to do with baseball’s unwritten rules. If you’re mad about Dyson breaking up Verlander’s perfect game with a bunt, you need to play like New Edition and “Cool it Now.”
Consider this list of reasons that nobody — yourself included — should be mad about the bunt.
1. It was the sixth inning
If it were the eighth inning or ninth inning and Dyson was simply trying to break up Verlander’s bid at history, then I could see tsk-tsking him. But it was the sixth. Plenty of game left and, to that point …
2. The Tigers didn’t even win
The Mariners actually came back to win the game. They scored three runs in the sixth, four runs in the seventh and won 7-5. So, in fact, Dyson should be applauded for jump-starting his offense when it was down 4-0. That’s not an insurmountable lead and Dyson’s primary weapon is his speed, so he did exactly what he should do. And let me all point out, it was a damn fine bunt.
3. Verlander was losing that perfect game one way or another
Mike Zunino walked after the bunt, then Jean Segura singled, then Ben Gamel singled. Two batters later, Nelson Cruz doubled. Verlander had already passed 80 pitches by the time Dyson came up. You might try to make an argument that Dyson’s bunt is what made Verlander crumble, but come on, we all know he wasn’t making it to the eighth or ninth with a perfect game or no-hitter.
4. Heck, Justin Verlander wasn’t even mad
Often times, the unwritten-rule opinions are born from this-is-what-I-would-have-done-when-I-played-in-high-school thinking, but in this case, let’s listen to the star pitcher. Here’s what Verlander said after the game, via Chris McCosky of Detroit News:
Verlander on the bunt: "Perfect bunt. It's part of his game. I don't think it was too late to be in situation to bunt. Not upset about it.'
— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) June 22, 2017
5. Don’t forget the most important thing
Dyson’s team won. Did we mention that already? Because if we didn’t, his team won. They were the winners of the game. And if you recall, that’s actually the point. You know, winning the game. There are no judges sitting around grading which team is better at playing the game the “right way.” Nope, the point is winning.
So while that bunt broke up a perfect game, it also helped Dyson’s team win.
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