Game 22: Tigers offense goes on Holaday

Where on earth, you ask, do the Tigers get the inspiration for a ninth-inning, two-out squeeze bunt in a tie game from the backup catcher?

Look to the eighth-inning, one-out bunt single Bryan Holaday laid down 10 days earlier against the Angels at Comerica Park. That one came with nobody out, but it set up an insurance run.

“He did that on his own,” manager Brad Ausmus said at the time. “He had told me prior to the at-bat that if the third baseman was back, he was thinking about bunting for a hit. I didn’t have a problem with it.”

Said Holaday: “I gave myself the first pitch, and I took a pretty ugly swing at a slider. So I figured, ‘Hey, the third baseman’s back. Might as well take advantage of it and try to drop one down.’ And it worked out.”

Less than two weeks later, as Holaday stepped to the plate against Ronald Belisario and his mid-90s sinker, he had Austin Jackson on third base with two outs in a 3-3 game. He had much the same idea.

“I was just focusing on the third baseman, seeing what he was doing,” Holaday said. “I noticed he was starting in and then backed up. That’s when I thought I had a good chance to lay it down.”

That third baseman was Marcus Semien, who had tried unsuccessfully to lay down a squeeze bunt on Justin Verlander with one out in the seventh. Verlander, however, had picked it up and given Semien a high pitch he couldn’t get down and keep fair.

“When I saw him turn around and square, I didn’t want to give him an easy pitch to bunt,” Verlander told reporters, including MLB.com’s Phil Rogers. “I just sort of flailed it, a slider. … I thought it might be a squeeze. I didn’t want to give them an easy run there, so I just sort of threw it up and in.”

Belisario, however, had not picked it up when Holaday bunted. Why would he? He’s the backup catcher, right?

Well, the Tigers were trying to give him the sign.

“I don’t know if he got it,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I gave it to Dave Clark and I think Clarky tried to give him a sign and Gene Lamont and I were kind of yelling at him at the bench in code to look at him, but I don’t know if he heard us or saw Clarky or just saw it on his own and took advantage.”

Don’t ask how a manager and coaches yell to a hitter in a code that doesn’t make the other team suspicious something might be on. It can’t be that easy, because Holaday said he didn’t hear it. He was bunting on his own.

“As soon as he laid it down, I thought it was a great play, especially the way he’d been throwing the ball,” Verlander said. “Belisario had been obviously making some really good hitters look silly up there, and I think Holly understood the situation and knew it was going to be an extremely tough at-bat.

“I think it was a really heads-up play. If I was pitching, I’d have been [ticked], but that was heads-up and smart and won us a ballgame.”

Said Holaday: “I know [Belisario] is probably [ticked] off, but it’s part of the game, and I did whatever I could to help the team win.”

For what it’s worth, a Tigers catcher with multiple bunt singles in a season isn’t as rare as you’d think. Gerald Laird had three of them in 2012.

15 Comments

Great come from behind game last night. Wasn’t feeling well so watched from bed without my laptop and immediately fell asleep as soon as the last pitch was thrown. Of course, I just loved the bunt right there. I’m not real concerned re Ver’s velocity as long as he can locate. The good pitchers stay in the game with the art of pitching.
.
One thing I wish the cameras would show is an overview shot of the infield defense. Just gives you a sense of what the batter is facing. Go Tigers!!!!!!!!!!

Holaday making the most of his very few opportunities. Only one game but he was clutch. And he was not 3-0
Supposedly, neither Leyland nor Ausmus pinch hit for the 200 hitting Avila for lack of a second backup ,but last night they went 9 full innings risking the DH

Verlander reached 97.5 MPH last night. 93.3 avg. Brooksbaseball

Good to know–thanks. JV needs to have something in his tank–it’s part of his demeanor and though he has become a much smarter pitcher, it is good to see him have the ability still there. I did not realize he was throwing that hard.

BTW–we need Ian Kinsler back!

Wtg Holly…pretty bunt…and caught them off guard…

What a great win – I don’t care how we win or who we tick off – especially the White Sox – beat them any way we can! I like the effort Holaday gives.

I don’t get the “ticked off” reference either. The game is about winning (and money)–both of those components justify just about anything in sports!
What is Holaday supposed to do? Not bunt when the potential winning run is there for him and he feels he can do it?
It’s different to bunt breaking up a no-no late in the game with the game decided but not this.

The lineup today makes good sense. Rajai out (after the golden sombrero) and Casty dropped lower (he has become very undisciplined and looking very “rookieish”). Worth continues his offensive malaise that he has exhibited over his career. Romine gives you a different slant out there.

Rajai is prone to streakiness. With his hot streak probably over, it’s time to put him back in the 9th slot against all pitchers. I do like him at leadoff because I like Hunter/Jackson/Castellanos at 5-6-7. Gives the lineup depth.
.
Worth, as usual, gets called up to Detroit and immediately stops playing baseball. One game in 9 days, the second last night. Unless you’re Ramon Santiago, that is no way to remain sharp.
.
Kinsler is notorious for hot Aprils.
.
So far I like the W-L record and the way most of the games are being played.
.
Former Raburn bashers, I present to you Viciedo.

Vicie-burn

to be fair, in the past 7 days Davis is batting .438 with a double and a HR. Only 1 SB though….

Doc Holaday is OK in our corral.

Jason Beck ‏@beckjason 1m
#Tigers make it official: Robbie Ray will fill rotation spot when they need 5th starter next Tuesday vs. Houston. It’ll be his MLB debut.

Interesting that his counterpart traded player, Doug Fister, will make his first start the following day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,308 other followers