Matt Carpenter bunted to beat the shift and wound up with a stand-up double
The infield shift. Is it "ruining" baseball? Is it the wave of the future? Is it actually not any of those hyperbolic concepts, but rather just an at-times savvy defensive maneuvering employed by number-crunching teams?
Whichever camp you belong to from the options above, you'll likely have a strong reaction to what took place during the Cardinals' 5-0 win over the Marlins on Monday night with
Miami put on a very dramatic infield shift, leaving nobody within three zip codes of the third-base bag. OK, that's an exaggeration, but you get the point. Anyway, Carpenter bunted and wound up on second base with a stand-up double:
The Marlins shifted Matt Carpenter as so many teams do.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) June 18, 2019
Carpenter dropped a bunt toward the left side, saw this, and cruised into second with a double. pic.twitter.com/167lgJync8
It was weird.
Matt Carpenter just bunted for a double... yes, you read that correctly! pic.twitter.com/mtJUNpG4ji— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 18, 2019
Those who mash their keyboards, shouting "JUST BUNT THE BALL! BEAT THE SHIFT!" might see this display from Carpenter and feel justified. They might think this is precisely how this scenario will play out every time.
But if you watch enough baseball, you'll know ... the batter will most definitely not end up with a double on a sneaky bunt attempt every time. How he fares has everything to do with the technique he uses, the pitch thrown by the pitcher, and so on. Carpenter did everything to perfection, and beat the system this time. But will the same thing happen next time he or somebody else tries it? Probably not. Who knows?
Baseball is weird.