Surprised the heck out of us last night when we discovered that Jack McKeon didn't order the first-inning bunt try from Gaby Sanchez with runners at first and second and no outs. All of us assumed it was McKeon up to his usual bag of tricks.
Here was a player (in Sanchez) who was hitting decently (.270) with runners in scoring position and had enjoyed good success against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (7 for 13 with a double and a home run) going into the game. But Sanchez popped out trying to bunt and Hanley Ramirez grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Two innings later, Sanchez came up with runners at first and second and two outs and ripped a single to right off Kendrick.
While McKeon said he didn't order the bunt, he enthusiastically applauded it:
"That was his own," McKeon said. "You've got to give him credit. He's an unselfish player trying to do something. He saw the third baseman (playing) back. He decided he'd bunt one and fill the bases for us. Very unselfish. Didn't work out, but gotta tip your hat to him. At least he's trying. In '03, we saw Pudge do that a number of times and the next guy came in and got the base hit and put us out in front a couple of times. I had no complaints with that. Just didn't execute right. But he had great intentions. We need more of that."
Asked whether it was the best decision given Sanchez's successful track record against Kendrick, McKeon replied: "Yeah, but that's history. That's past. You live by the stats, you die by the stats. The way we are, heck, we need to score runs. We need to get guys in scoring position and hope we get a break. So I would rather have the guy on third. If he could have made the bunt, it would have been bases loaded and nobody out."
Anyone care to offer an opinion on Sanchez's decision to bunt?
Not really sure what Mike Cameron has left in him at this late stage, and he didn't sound too convinced about his future when I asked him how long he intended to continue playing. But Cameron's presence is already being felt.
Logan Morrison was raving about Cameron and comments the veteran made on the bench throughout the course of last night's game. And Cameron was conspicuously available to sign autographs for a group of kids beforehand.
After Bryan Petersen's sketchy game in center last night (he watched one liner sail over his head after taking a poor route and had another ball get past him), it was no surprise to hear McKeon say that Cameron would be in the lineup tonight. We'll see. There's always a chance Cameron could be the next Jacques Jones, only with the extra clubhouse intangibles.