We’ve seen our share of unwritten rules disagreements this season, including one specific to bunting to beat the shift in a “lopsided game.” However, Texas Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis took things to a whole new level on Saturday, and there are but two possible explanations. Either Lewis’ definition of the word lopsided is different from the rest of ours, or he’s taking the lead on rewriting unwritten rules.
Here’s what happened:
With the Rangers trailing 2-0 in the fifth inning at Toronto, Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus laid a perfect bunt down the third base line to beat Texas’ infield shift with two outs and nobody on base. Good, smart baseball if we’re being honest and objective, but Lewis felt entirely different about it.
Via MLB.com’s Chris Toman:
“I told [Rasmus] I didn’t appreciate it,” Lewis said. “You’re up by two runs with two outs and you lay down a bunt. I don’t think that’s the way the game should be played.”
“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,” Lewis said.
Well, sure. But maybe he was trying to a spark two-out rally in a competitive game? That seems plausible, yes?
“[Rasmus] didn’t steal within the first two pitches to put himself in scoring position,” Lewis said. “That tells me he is solely looking out for himself, and looking out for batting average. And I didn’t appreciate it.”
We’re really reaching here.
If Lewis’ anger is driven by frustration, so be it, but it’s nobody else’s fault that he’s currently sporting a 6.37 ERA this season. He has to own that at least.
By the way, the next batter was Dan Johnson, who earlier in the game just missed a two-run homer to right field. He ended up settling for a double, which scored Rasmus from first base.
The thought process isn’t complicated here, and Rasmus, like the rest of those paying attention, was dumbfounded by Lewis’ outburst and postgame comments.
“I’m just trying to help my team and he didn’t like that — so sorry about it,” Rasmus said. “I’m not here to try to please the other side, I’m here to help my team, and I had an opportunity where I could and I took advantage of it.”
That pretty covers the situation. There was absolutely nothing selfish about Rasmus’ bunt. Had he come around to score, it would have been an important run in a close game. The Blue Jays ended up winning 4-1, so it’s not like the Rangers were ever truly out of the game.
It’s actually nothing like the bunting issue we referenced earlier that happened in Oakland. That happened in the first inning with Oakland already leading the Houston Astros 7-0. Jed Lowrie did the same thing Rasmus did, he laid down a bunt to beat the shift, and Astros manager Bo Porter flipped out. Lowrie ended up getting plunked later in the game, and then Porter continued his rage by running on the field to confront him.
That incident was also ridiculous for the simple fact that if you’re playing a shift defensively, you must feel like you still have a shot to win the game. If that’s the case, you can’t be mad at the other team for continuing to play hard.
There’s a reason these rules aren’t written down. They’re truly senseless, and Lewis’ rewriting of the unwritten beat-the-shift rule in a 2-0 game may be the most absurd of all.
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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813
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