Astros showing bunt under Lawless
You eyes aren’t deceiving you. The Astros have been bunting much more since Tom Lawless took over as interim manager, just as he promised he would. In fact, bunts were instrumental in the Astros scoring runs late in the the past two games, especially since they didn’t homer on either Saturday or Sunday in Oakland.
In the sixth inning Saturday, Robbie Grossman had a sacrifice bunt and Jonathan Villar had a bunt single to help the Astros score a pair of runs. Jake Marisnick had a sacrifice bunt in the second inning Saturday as well.
In the seventh inning Sunday, Marwin Gonzalez had a sacrifice bunt that helped the Astros score a pair of runs. Lawless grew up playing that style of baseball under legendary Cardinals manager Whitey Ford and firmly believes in bunting and hitting and running.
“I watch the game and see how it’s going,” he said. “If the right guys comes up and the situation come ups and the last couple of games we really didn’t get a lot of hits, so for us to score runs we get two guys on and nobody out, what’s the better option? Bunting here or letting the guys swing away and if we hit into a double play we get nothing?
“If the right situation comes up and the right guys that can handle the bat and can drop the bunt, I take my chances in giving away an out. That’s the way I grew up. I grew up watching Whitey.”
Of course, bunting and giving away outs flies in the face of the analytical world, which preaches every out is precious. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, though, is letting Lawless manage how he sees fit.
“Nobody’s yelled at me yet,” Lawless joked. “It’s an idea you have to buy into. It’s nine guys playing team baseball. Whatever you have to do to push runs across, that’s what you have to do. We’re not taking the bat out of anybody’s hands. We’re getting a feel for what the game is telling us to do.”