So far this year, teams that issue 1 or more IBBs are 78-235 (this is a little shifty, as it counts games where both teams issue IBBs as a win and a loss, and counts multi-IBB games just once, but hey). Of the 364 IBBs, 193 (53%) came when the team pitching was behind, 134 when the game was tied, and 34 when ahead.
We’re not clever enough with B-R’s Play Index to figure out how many times the team issuing the IBB was behind and then went on to win the game (or even just get out of the inning w/o surrendering additional runs), but we’re guessing it’s not very often.
– 40 IBBs in the first 3 innings (3/18/19). Many of these (21) are of the NL “Walk the 8th hitter to face the pitcher” variety, but it’s still a -RE play.
– The Marlins lead the league with 28, and it’s a distant 2nd for Colorado and Seattle (19).
– On 4/21, Phil Coke IBBed Albert Pujols B12, 3-3 —/2. Yup. Bases empty walk to Pujols to get to Josh Hamilton. We realize there are platoon splits that favor Coke/Hamilton over Coke/Pujols, but still. While the Tigers didn’t lose the game in the 12th, they did lose it one inning later.
In May, there were a total of 113 non-pitcher, non-squeeze sacrifice bunts (~22/wk).
– 6 had a WPA/RE24 > 0, 107 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0
That means that almost 95% of those sacrifice bunts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win while giving up an out.
- 26 (23%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (21 in inn. 4-6).
- 42 (37.2%) were by the batter in the 1st or 2nd spot in the batting order (For the second month running, the 3rd spot is the only one w/ 0 bunts, so that’s something)
- 56 (56.1%) were 1–/0 ; 2 were 1–/1 (*)
- 16 (14.2%) came with the bunting team behind (3) or ahead (13) by 2 or more runs
(*) – The 2 1–/1 bunts were more likely bunt for hit attempts, but we and the Play Index aren’t perfect.
- The Astros led the month with 10, the Dodgers followed with 9 each. (Maybe this is why there's an east coast bias!).
- Those 2 teams are a combined 24 games under .500
- There was exactly 1 team with no sacrifice bunts in May. Big points to whoever guesses which team. It wouldn't have been in our top 10 guesses.
SMRT-est bunt of the week: 5/27, Rangers at Diamondbacks. Elvis Andrus, 1-2 (T3) | -2-/1. -.31 RE24. The astonishing thing is that Andrus had the crown for April, too. Last month it was bunting in the first inning, this month it was only the 3rd but that's cold comfort. Ron Washington makes over $1 million per year. That’s the way baseball go, indeed.