Let's not point out what went wrong, because that's all pretty obvious. Let's simply marvel at how difficult bunting must be, and how the scope of that difficulty has not yet deterred the Phillies from trying it.
Look, the Phillies weren't going to win Matt Harvey's Citi Field debut, but with two Chase Utley home runs, including one that punched right through Mets' fans guts as they chanted Harvey's name and sailed into Utley's Corner, the thought crossed our minds.
At certain points, however, they appeared to agree that not only would they not win the game, but there was some greater plan in place that indicated they were not supposed to win the game. When the pitcher leads off an inning with a double and moves to third with one out, it's not difficult to imagine a world in which he comes in to score. But this is Ryne Sandberg's world now, and he's got a special assignment for Freddy Galvis.
The Phillies had one out, a runner on second... and they have Freddy Galvis bunt. Why?— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) April 15, 2015
Spitting in the face of the curriculum taught at the MLB Bunting Academy under dean Billy "Small Ball" Buntley, Galvis squared up and sent the ball, airborne, into foul territory, where it was retrieved in mid-flight by catcher Travis d'Arnaud. David Buchanan could only stand on third base and make flabbergasted noises as Galvis returned to the dugout with more questions than answers, and somewhere, Billy Buntley removed a folder marked "GALVIS" from a massive filing cabinet and tossed it wearily into a roaring fire place.
Following Galvis' mostly incorrect take on the act the day before, Sandberg for some reason went into the next game of the series more determined to bunt than ever. Multiple times he sent his bunting orders down, and multiple times did Pete Mackanin sigh, convey the order via a series of hand gestures, and watch as a Phillies hitter did something confusing and bad.
Cesar Hernandez was up first, given the order to become the second out in an eventless campaign mounted in the top of the third. The previous inning had seen a one-out rally with two runners on end without any runs crossing the plate, and Odubel Herrera's strike out to lead off the third didn't stir a great amount of inspiration for this time around. So, Hernandez, on a team that can't seem to execute a bunt when the goal is a sacrifice play, attempted to pull one off as a base hit.
It would have worked, too, but there was a Jon Niese in the way. Darn.
Cesar Hernandez tries to bunt for hit, but bunts ball back to pitcher. Bunting is not the Phillies' strength, despite making it focal point.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) April 15, 2015
Chase Utley, attempting a late career reinvention of himself as a Guy Who Bunts Occasionally, was the next to give it a go. Granted, his lack of experience in doing so could be cited here (he has four sacrifices in his career), but Eric Campbell also made a great play on a ball that was bunted too hard to allow Utley enough time to race to first. Damn the endless flow of his natural strength and vitality!
But Utley was somewhat successful, as he with one out and two runners on, the amount of Phillies in Scoring Position Who Would Inevitably Fail to Score had doubled! Sadly, they would live up to their title quite easily and quite soon, given that Utley's bunt also doubled the number of outs to two. With only one chance to get runners in, the Phillies... well, that's just not enough chances for the Phillies. They require more of a wide berth.
Bunting! Baseball's sexiest play.
Clearly, Ryne Sandberg wants to be able to rely on anyone for a bunt, should the mood strike him. It's less crazy for him to till, lean on a pitcher like Cole Hamels, but he should still try harder to make sure the person he's asking to bunt can actually, like, do it.
What the hell do you want from Sean O'Sullivan? The Phillies called him up out of desperation and shoved him out on the mound against whatever world-devourer the Nationals were trotting out that particular day.
Every day of his life must be pure terror and now here he is with a bat in his hands. Chances are he was just trying to foul out with some dignity, which he did, as skilled defender Ryan Zimmerman made a terrific play on his perversion of bunting.
Either the Phillies are going to stop bunting, or they are going to get better at bunting. Or they are going to keep bunting and just be bad at bunting. That could also happen.
All we can do, as we continue to do, is keep our view firmly focused on the future while ignoring that the present is happening.
Roman Quinn with another bunt single -- this one on a successful squeeze, against drawn-in infield; no one covered first #Phillies— Mike Drago (@mldrago) April 18, 2015