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Is Bunting To Break Up A No-Hitter Bush League? (Video)
During yesterday afternoon’s game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander took to the mound in the eighth inning in search of his second no-hitter of the season with his Tigers leading 3-0. Shortstop Eric Aybar was the first batter for the Angels that inning and he was also looking to become the first Angel to record a hit, although, his attempt to do so didn’t sit too well with Verlander.
In an attempt to become only the third baserunner for the Angels on the day, Aybar laid down a bunt, which bounced back to the mound. Verlander would eventually throw the ball away, allowing Aybar to reach second base on the error.
Although scorekeepers at Comerica Park recorded Aybar’s bunt as an error, the Angels would eventually record a hit in the inning and score two unearned runs as well, breaking up Verlander’s no-no and cutting the Tigers’ lead to 3-2. However, it was Aybar’s bunt that seemed to irk Verlander the most in the middle of the eighth inning and at the end of the game.
After recording the final out in the eighth, Verlander had some choice words for Aybar between innings, and following the game he had this to say when asked about Aybar’s attempt to break up his no-no with a bunt:
“Very surprised. You know, it’s a three-run game. It’s a close game. There’s arguments both ways, but from a pitching standpoint we like to call it ‘Bush League’”
So is bunting to break up a no-hitter really “Bush League”? Does Aybar not have the right to try and get on base by any means necessary with his team trailing by only three runs in an important game (after all, every game is important when you are only two games behind the division leaders)?
If Verlander doesn’t like it, tough luck. Next time make the throw to first and get the runner out. Just like Jered Weaver should have avoided giving up home runs if he didn’t like what the Tigers’ batters were doing after hitting them (Weaver was eventually tossed from the game for throwing at Alex Avila’s head).
The object of the game is to get runners on base and attempt to score runs. Should the Angels abandon that game plan just so Verlander can have his shot at the history books? I don’t think so, but apparently Verlander does.
Here is a look at Aybar’s bunt, followed by Verlander’s exchange with the Angel’s shortstop between innings.