Situations dictate whether bunts are needed

Situations dictate whether bunts are needed

Situations dictate whether bunts are needed
BOSTON -- The Red Sox executed their 15th sacrifice bunt during the seventh inning of Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Orioles in an effort to start a rally, but the strategy didn't pay off.

After a pair of singles to start the frame, Darnell McDonald bunted pinch-runner Scott Podsednik and Jarrod Saltalamacchia into scoring position. But Marlon Byrd struck out against left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and Mike Aviles flied out to right.

Byrd entered the night hitting .333 against southpaws.

The Red Sox are tied with the Angels for the most sacrifices in the American League this year. It's the most sacrifices in Boston's first 56 games of a season since the 2000 squad also had 15.

Manager Bobby Valentine explained the decision and his position on bunting on Thursday, prior to the series finale with Baltimore.

"I think first and second with no outs with a lot of hitters, it's a pretty good play," he said. "[But with other} hitters, it's a lousy play.

"The personnel, the bottom of the order, will dictate. Guys who can bunt I think sometimes are asked to. Guys who are on base who can advance the base quick enough if there was a bunt and then score on a sac fly, if that's what you're looking for. I think there are lots of things that go into it."

But that doesn't mean Valentine is a big proponent of the strategy.

"I don't particularly like the bunt, but it's a very useful weapon at times," he said. "It keeps you out of double plays. I don't like to give away outs. I don't think it's a great idea. It's great when you're staying away from two outs."

The seventh inning and Wednesday's game could have had a different outcome had Byrd been able to put the ball in play, though.

"If that fastball that was down the middle that was thrown to the next hitter was swung at, I'd bet you we would all be saying, 'God, it would have been great to win that game 3-2.' But it was taken instead," Valentine said.