Duda Bunts? Who Knew?

It was bottom of the 8th and after a Pagan solo shot the Mets trailed by just 1 run. Turner and Wright both singled and stood on first and second with no out when Duda stepped to the plate.  

I would’ve thought the hot hitting Duda was primed to lace a big hit in this situation. Or at least be given the chance. 

But instead he bunted. It was a great sac bunt but it raised a host of questions:

Did he bunt on his own or did TC order it?

How many times has the power hitting Duda sac bunted in his pro career? 

Is this something he’s been adept at in the past? 

If they sac bunted with Bay on deck did the Mets, or Duda himself, assume the Pads would pitch to Bay or did they anticipate an intentional walk to load the bases.

Did Jason Bay really warrant a free pass to avoid his bat or was it merely a set up the double play decision? 

If I was the skipper would I have called for a bunt there?

How many people in NYC are aware that Lucas Duda is batting. Clean-up for the Mets?

The ultimate answer to all these questions is, it doesn’t matter because the strategy worked. The tying and go ahead run scored. 

So mad props to Duda and Collins for the correct decision and the continued scrappiness of this squad.

21 Responses to “Duda Bunts? Who Knew?”

  1. joeybrooklyn1976 Says:

    I was at the game lastt night. My brother and I had the same questions. Was it mentioned in the post game? It did work out in the end. The place was empty but it did see like everyone who was there stayed until the end. Lgm. Good uck with your show bf.

  2. BlondiesJake Says:

    Apparently Duda went to Collins with the idea of bunting and I assume Collins approved. I’m not sold on the idea, especially when it meant a likely intentional walk to Bay and then leaving it up to the bottom of the order, but it did work. I will disagree with BMF’s contention it doesn’t matter because it worked because outcome doesn’t determine value. But I’m glad he got the bunt down and the Padres pitcher then melted down.

  3. IrishMike Says:

    From a sabremetric run expectancy point of view bunting in that situation is reasonable - actually the run expectancy is almost identical for 1st/2nd no outs as 2nd/3rd 1 out. So it’s sort of a neutral move as opposed to the sac bunt with only a man on 1st and no outs which significantly drives down run expectancy yet managers do it every day since it is in “the book.”

    But of course not every situation is identical and in this case I would have assumed that Duda is not a skilled bunter so the odds get worse. But he laid down a good one so if he and TC knew he had the skills it looks like a good move. And it certainly looked like it after the Mets won.

    Circumstances have only allowed me to watch the 8th/9th innings of the last two games. I may make that a habit.

  4. the dude formerly known as bill l. Says:

    I still think it’s a fool’s move. I’m glad they one, but really disagree with the idea that they won “because” of this strategy. The sac fly only got them even and with two outs. The only reason they win is because Spence walks two after the decision to intentionally walk Bay. They led off the inning with Pagan’s HR and a line drive single by JT and another single by Wright. The momemtum had shifted, pitching change, no one out and the Duda man at the plate. I just don’t see how bunting him in that situation makes any sense. Of course they’re walking Bay there. That means that you are deciding that your best chance of winning is to let Nick Evans, Ruben Tejada, and Mike Spence (who?) take your hacks for you rather than letting Duda and Bay take a whack at it for you, and to me that’s just crazy.

    IM: yes, watching these Mets lately is like watching an NBA game: it all comes down to the last two minutes.

  5. Lord Charles Says:

    Good call on the run expectancy (ERT), IM.

    With a man on 1st and 2nd with no outs, an NL team has an ERT of 1.4 runs. When it is the #4 hitter at bat, the ERT goes up to 1.5 runs.

    With a man on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out, the ERT goes down to 1.3 runs, and with the #5 hitter up, it is 1.4 runs.

    Interestingly enough, when the bases are loaded with one out, an NL team has an ERT of 1.5 runs, so perhaps the bigger mistake was the IBB to Bay.

    So based on run expectancy, calling it neutral was definitely spot on. However, if you look at 1-R probability (1RP; chances of scoring one run), the numbers do favor bunting.

    With a man on 1st and 2nd with no outs, an NL team has an 1RP of 62.2%. When it is the #4 hitter at bat, the 1RP goes up to 63.8%

    With a man on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out, the 1RP goes up to 66.4%, and with the #5 hitter up, it is 67.4%.

    And when the bases are loaded with one out, an NL team has a 1RP of 66.8% (68.4% with the 6th hitter AB).

    Given the advantage the home team has from the 9th inning on, I’m usually of the mindset that playing for the tie at home is the right call.

  6. Lord Charles Says:

    FYI, source of the above data:

    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2006/07/empirical_analy_1.php

  7. BlondiesJake Says:

    IM and LC, thanks for the statistical probability breakdowns. I do still agree with tdfkabl about wanting Duda and Bay taking their hacks as opposed to leaving it up to the #6, #7 and #8 hitters but can see why the bunt isn’t completely awful there if playing to tie.

  8. BlondiesJake Says:

    LC, you mentioned the advantage the home team has from the 9th inning on, can you explain? Yes, the home team always knows what it needs to do to tie and/or win, but what other advantages are there? Personally, I’ve always felt tying the game up, home or road, is always a good idea, perhaps it’s not. My thought process is it forces the other team to play differently, maybe changes which pitchers they use, changes switches they may or may not make for defensive purposes, etc.

  9. Lord Charles Says:

    ^And I can’t say that I would have been disappointed to see that, either, if for no other reason than it would have been a good test for Duda.

    I usually hate the non-pitcher bunt, it just happens that last night was the 1 rare instance (home team, down 1 or tied, 8th inning or later) where it is at least statistically justified. All other times, it hurts the team.

  10. Lord Charles Says:

    Jake, you hit the biggest advantage: knowing what you need to do. It’s much easier to come up with a strategy to score x runs, then it is to just score as many runs as possible.

    Additionally, there is the added burden for the visiting team of having to hold one pitcher back. I disagree with the the notion that this has to be the closer, but either way, the visiting team is more likely to have one of there lesser relievers in the game than the home team is.

  11. KMac Says:

    Changing the subject for a minute: Anyone notice who the first two players to congratulate Duda Monday night after the walk off hit? - Scott Hairston and Willie Harris. And Willie did the honors with the whip cream pie in Duda’s face. I think that says a lot about the verteran leadership those two provide and is needed on a team with a lot of young players. Neither one is getting tons of ABs but they both produce when called upon, especially Hairston (his RF play notwithstanding :-) They both seem to be great role models and even though they are role players, they can have a big influence on how the youngsters develop. Kudos to Alderson for brining in players like that.

    OK - back to the bunt strategy analysis.

  12. the dude formerly known as bill l. Says:

    Fascinating stats. Makes the move seem more plausible when it’s laid out like that. I still wouldn’t have done it, esp. given the decline in the offensive skills at the lower end of that Mets lineup, Duda’s inexperience at bunting, and the non-scientific idea that giving up an out in that situation seems like relinquishing your momentum voluntarily, but I can see why reasonable people would disagree.

  13. Florida Met Fan Rich Says:

    The “Bufets” win with TWO late inning comebacks? How long has it been since that happened?

    Seems to me as TC is kind of old, he is just playing “Old School Baseball”, by the book.

    All the moves look great when you win, to bad nobody was there to see it!

    LETS GO “BUFETS”

  14. Florida Met Fan Rich Says:

    Is Buffalo forfeiting all of their games because all of their players are up here?

    If they are all already up here who are we gonna bring up when the Sept. roster expansion happens?

  15. Florida Met Fan Rich Says:

    1965

    The last time the Mets won two games in a row and ovecame a two run deficit in the 8th inning or later!

  16. BlondiesJake Says:

    Thanks LC. I’m still not sold on it but appreciate the explanation.

  17. schmifty Says:

    I just liked Duda’s postgame… “I think I’m pretty good at bunting, I mean like… yeah. I’m pretty good at bunting actually.”

  18. JoMama Says:

    Hindsight being 20/20, I too, don’t like the idea of Duda bunting in that position. Of course TC looks good, the Mets win and everyone is happy but had they lost, man, I would have blamed that one bonehead call.

  19. keefherny17 Says:

    This is why I (perhaps us all) watch these games, cause you never know. Who would have thought our clean up would bunt, considering he’s been hitting pretty well…. the Padres certainly did not see it. Gotta love the grit of this team season.

  20. JoMama Says:

    Keep in mind that the Pads are really, really bad. 90% of the teams we play (100% if they are in the NL East) don’t lose either of these last 2 games. Just sayin.

  21. keefherny17 Says:

    The Pads are bad, but their pen is the best in the majors. This team broke through their pen two nights in a row and on bell too (all star). Thats not something to look past…

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