Changes were made to Major League Baseball’s written rules this past offseason, which means some unofficial rules are changing as well. One such unwritten rule is that teams shouldn’t score runs when they are already well ahead of an opponent.
The Giants took the lead early, with a nine-run lead by the bottom of the second inning, but they were not done scoring yet. Fast forward to the bottom of the sixth inning: Mauricio Dubón hit a bunt single while the Giants still had a nine-run lead.
The Padres did were clearly not happy about the decision to bunt. San Diego manager Bob Melvin had some words for Dubón, as did Eric Hosmer.
“I definitely told him how I felt, how we felt about it,” Hosmer said. “He said it was a sign given to him by their staff. I just told him I think you’ve got to be a little bit smarter in that situation. You’ve been playing professional ball for a good amount of time obviously if you’re at this level. You’ve got to be smarter than that.”
The Giants had a different opinion on the matter. Here’s what Giants manager Gabe Kapler said:
“Our goal is not exclusively to win one game in a series. It’s to try to win the entire series. Sometimes, that means trying to get a little deeper into the opposition’s ‘pen. I understand that many teams don’t love that strategy. And I get why. It’s something that we talked about as a club before the season and that we were comfortable going forward with that strategy. It’s not to be disrespectful in any way. It’s because we feel very cool and strategic. It’s the best way to win a series. When I say cool, I mean calm. We’re not emotional about it. We’re not trying to hurt anybody.
Dubón also defended himself, saying, “I’m not trying to disrespect anybody. We’re just trying to win a series. That means carrying on rallies so we can burn arms. That’s it. I’m not trying to disrespect anybody.”
The Giants went on to win 13-2, and that score goes a long way towards explaining why the unwritten rule of not running up the score against an opponent is outdated — as our CBS Sports baseball writer Mike Axisa pointed out:
That new rule about run differential actually gives teams an extra incentive to score runs as often as possible and whenever they can — even in the case of a blowout. At the end of the season, a tiebreaker in the standings between teams will no longer be settled by a game 163, it will be determined by run differential.
Those arguing for the unwritten rules now have less of a leg to stand on when it comes to running up the score.