The “Reyes Run”By: Brendan Bilko
Last night, Jose Reyes led off the sixth inning by hitting a 3-1 pitch up the middle for a single. In the subsequent at bat, Luis Castillo took one pitch before sac bunting Reyes over to second base. Reyes then stole third base in the next at bat, before ultimately scoring on a Chris Carter ground out following a walk by Jason Bay. Ah, the “Reyes Run.” While the result was fine, the process (especially in last night’s particular instance) is unbelievably flawed.
Aside from the obvious (giving the opposition a free out), Jose Reyes, the greatest base stealer in Mets history, was the runner that was sac bunted over. Reyes has a 90.0% success rate this season and an 80.3% success rate for his career. Why wouldn’t you just give him more than one pitch to steal against the right handed Derek Lowe? The odds are in the Mets favor. Hell he stole third base just fine.
Let’s go back to the man at bat. If Luis Castillo is good at one thing it’s taking pitches before he has to swing. Though his P/PA numbers are slightly down this season (3.80 this season compared to 4.25 in ’09 and 4.30 in ’08), he absolutely could have taken another pitch or two. This gives Reyes more opportunity to take the bag, without giving the other team an out. Castillo has also had “success” against Lowe in his career. In 24 plate appearances, he has a slash line of .364/.417/.364. Poke one in the hole on the right side. Hit and run. Do anything but sac bunt. It’s just unnecessary.
I understand the excitement over Reyes being back in the leadoff spot. I even get the hype around the concept of a “Reyes Run” (small ball, gritty, hustle, etc.). However Jose has scored 571 runs in his career. Technically they are all “Reyes Runs.” There is no need to give the opposition free outs in order to get them.