Rays having trouble laying down two-strike bunts

Rays having trouble laying down two-strike bunts

OAKLAND -- The Rays have 10 failed bunt attempts with two strikes this season, the most by an American League team since the designated hitter came into effect in 1973. The last time an AL team had 10 or more was 1972, when the Orioles had 15 and the White Sox had 10.

Rays manager Joe Maddon is not afraid of trying to advance the runners via the bunt with two strikes, even though a foul ball, obviously, results in an out.

Adding to the difficulty of bunting with two strikes is the fact that bunting itself is not as easy as people seem to think.

"No, it can be really hard, depending on the pitcher," Sean Rodriguez said. "If he's throwing all elevated fastballs, it's hard to stay on top of them to bunt them down. Especially if they're four-seam. And if they throw you breaking balls, it's even harder to bunt.

"... Your average sinkerball guy is the best guy to bunt, because you guarantee that it's going to go down to the ground. But even then, it's hard to keep it fair. [Bunting is] not the hardest thing to do [on a baseball field], but it's nowhere near as easy as people think it is."

Elliot Johnson smiled when asked about the perception that back in the "old days" nobody ever missed a sacrifice bunt.

"I doubt that was the case," Johnson said. "Everybody has that selective memory. Everybody was a lot better than they actually were because everybody has in their mind they were a lot better."