Simmons' bunt decision influenced by hitting woes
SAN DIEGO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's decision to sit Andrelton Simmons for Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Padres was not a result of Simmons' unwise decision to create a safety squeeze bunt situation on his own in the eighth inning of Saturday night's loss.
Instead, Gonzalez simply wanted to rest his max-effort shortstop, who allowed his recent hitting woes to influence his decision to bunt with runners at the corners, one out and the game tied on Saturday. Simmons did not take into account the Padres infield was playing in and the fact that the speed-challenged Evan Gattis had no indication the bunt was coming.
First baseman Tommy Medica fielded the bunt and made a throw that easily beat the unsuspecting Gattis to the plate.
"I wasn't feeling really comfortable at the plate," Simmons said. "I just thought if I put a better bunt down, we had a better chance. I bunted it too hard and obviously it was the wrong choice."
Simmons has batted .148 (8-for-54) with a.233 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. In the process, his batting average has dropped from .265 to .249 and his OBP from .309 to .298.
As this week has progressed, Simmons has been occasionally bothered by a sore and cranky right shoulder. He said the ailment has not bothered him at the plate. Nor did it prevent him from making yet another incredible defensive gem during Saturday's 11th inning. With a runner on second base and one out, Simmons ranged to his right and backhanded Everth Cabrera's grounder. The acrobatic shortstop immediately sprung in the air and fired the ball to second baseman Emilio Bonifacio who then tagged Rene Rivera, who had strayed too far toward third base.
"As soon as I went in the hole, I knew I wasn't getting Cabrera," Simmons said. "So I got ready to throw to third or if [Rivera] went to second. I jumped up and saw him halfway and that he had got himself in trouble."