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Colby Lewis And the Silliness of Unwritten Baseball Rules

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers

The Blue Jays’ Colby Rasmus bunted for a hit in the 5th inning against the shift. Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis was not pleased with that. He does not think that’s “the way the game should be played.” Since baseball is the only thing happening right now and this is what passes for a regular season storyline in that sport, let’s dive in further.

First, we have the act itself. By Lewis’ logic, a team distorting its entire defensive alignment into a player’s hitting zone is acceptable practice. But said batter countering by exploiting the obvious weakness of that scheme is beyond the pale. Every St. Louis Cardinal, we’re sure, would have hit into that shift with gusto. David Eckstein would have come out of retirement for the opportunity.

Then there’s the situation. It was the fifth inning with two outs and the Blue Jays were leading by two, which purpotedly exacerbated the faux pas.

“I told [Rasmus] I didn’t appreciate it,” Lewis said, according to MLB.com. “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.”

Obviously, you don’t stop trying with a two-run lead, two outs and nearly half the regulation game to play. It’s not that out of reach. But just don’t try too hard. Give it a solid 85 percent out there. You don’t want to show up the other team.

Lewis also claims Rasmus was being selfish. His evidence: Rasmus did not immediately try to steal with two outs.

“[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 should point out that Rasmus has attempted two stolen bases (one successful) in his last 179 games. But, beyond that, how is a hitter getting on base ever “solely looking out for himself?” A stat is a numerical representation of a baseball achievement. It is Rasmus’ job to accumulate said achievements. We suspect fellow Blue Jays would want Rasmus (and his .274 OBP in 2014 bat) to take the path of least resistance in every situation possible.

The only thing Rasmus appears to have not been looking out for, in this situation, is Colby Lewis’ feelings. His team probably looked really silly getting burned for a bunt single after radically shifting for a struggling player hitting .223, especially when they are 21 games out of first place.

Unfortunately, whining after a defeat remains acceptable under baseball’s unwritten constitution.

Unrelated: Two guys named “Colby” having a tiff? Sooo MLB.

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