Bottom 2: No bunt for you

Rob Bradford
October 01, 2008 - 3:40 pm

  After watching Mike Lowell field the final out of the first, you might be wondering which of the Angels are the biggest threat to test the third baseman on a bunt attempt. Well, Erick Aybar leads the way with nine bunt hits this year, attempting the feat 41 times. Chone Figgins is No. 2, earning six bunt singles in 24 attempts. Aybar, who is up third this inning, should tip his hand early, ranking 278th out 281 big league hitters with at least 300 plate appearances in fewest pitches per plate appearance, averaging 3.26. Of his his 41 attempts at a bunt for a base hit, 24 of them have come on the first pitch. Right on cue, Aybar attempts a bunt single on the first pitch. Nice! Aybar ended the inning by testing Mike Lowell, except this was on a grounder right at the third baseman. Lester got entered his at-bat with Aybar by getting Mike Napoli on a nasty curve for strike three swinging. It was a fairly impressive feat considering Napoli finished Aug. and Sept. with a 1.257 OPS, tops in the majors for players with at least 100 plate appearances.  Lester also got Gary Matthews Jr. on a weak grounder in front of the plate, which was also noteworthy considering Matthews Jr. is the only player to hit two homers off Lester in one game.