Colby Lewis, Colby Rasmus, and the rules of bunting


Typically when a player lays down a bunt in a 2-0 game and only in the fifth inning, it typically doesn’t ruffle too many feathers. However, that all seemed to change on Saturday afternoon with Colby Lewis on the mound for the Texas Rangers and Colby Rasmus at the plate for the Toronto Blue Jays.

With two outs in the fifth inning the Blue Jays center fielder decided to push a bunt down the third base line for an infield single. With the Rangers in the shift and Colby Lewis finishing his delivery toward first base, it seemed like a smart baseball play.

Maybe he was mad that Rasmus had the audacity to share the same first name with him, maybe it was facial hair envy, or maybe it was simply the fact that he couldn’t convert the out, but Colby Lewis took exception with the play, and let Rasmus know about one he settled at first base.

"“I told Rasmus I didn’t appreciate it. I felt like you have a situation where there is two outs, you’re up two runs, you have gotten a hit earlier in the game off me, we are playing the shift, and he laid down a bunt basically simply for average,” said Lewis (h/t"

So, let me get this straight, there are now unwritten rules against bunting in the fifth inning with a two-run lead?

Hmm, when last I digested baseball’s unwritten rules, in an excellent piece from ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian, I do recall reading much about bunting. However, the rules only seemed to revolve around the courtesy of laying down a bunt in either of two situations:

1.) Late in a game where the opposing pitcher has a no-hitter going.

2.) When a team has a commanding lead that is insurmountable by the opponent.

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  • Now, given that the Blue Jays already had seven hits in the game when Rasmus places his bunt in the fifth, I’m fairly certain that situation number one had already been satisfied. Additionally, the 2-0 Blue Jays lead in the fifth inning doesn’t necessarily fit the bill of being insurmountable either. In fact, the Blue Jays bullpen nearly blew the lead in the 8th inning, when Brett Cecil allowed a run and Dustin McGowan loaded the bases before getting out of the jam.

    All and all, this was just sour grapes from Colby Lewis and came up in a moment of the game when he was had better things to focus on. This wasn’t Ben Davis breaking up Curt Schilling‘s no-hitter, and this wasn’t Erick Aybar trying to break-up Justin Verlander‘s no-no. This was a 2-0 game, in the fifth inning.

    Maybe this was Lewis’ way of shifting focus from a loss that gave the Rangers the worst record in all of baseball.

    Maybe it was just Lewis’ way of deferring focus away from his five innings of mediocre work, his 6.54 ERA, or the .410 BABIP he’s giving up in 2014.