How should the Atlanta Braves handle extra innings?

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Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves OF Nick Markakis with a sacrifice fly vs. Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Pick a strategy:  the Atlanta Braves could use either obvious option in extras.

Bunt or swing away?  Use speed or rely on hitting skills?  It feels like the Atlanta Braves haven’t been that good at driving home a runner after a lead-off double, but it’s difficult to fact-check that kind of game scenario.

Even if you could, it also might not be directly applicable to the situation that teams will face in extra-inning games this Summer:

Every game going beyond nine innings will begin with the placement of a runner on second base:  the hitter making the last out in the prior inning.

It’s a move intended to preserve pitcher arms and protect against games going deep into the night when teams have limits of days off and — especially early on — pitchers with pitch-count limits.

In these cases, the game is always going to be on the line and the intensity of the moment immediately cranks up for the next 3 hitters… and pretty much for as long as the game lasts.

That’s even more so if a home team is facing a one-run deficit after yielded a run of their own in the top half of an extra frame.

Of course, fans won’t be as quick to decide the situation is hopeless for their side, either, as the opportunity for a quick response is always going to be there.

But the question I have is this:  how should the Atlanta Braves play this?

  • Bunt the runner over immediately and play for either the sacrifice fly (you get 1 chance at that, then have to seek a hit) or a single (2 chances)?
  • Forgo the bunt and simply use your next three hitters in the quest for the one hit necessary to bring home a run?

The answer is probably going to depend on who’s coming up, for there’s reasons to believe that Atlanta could try both strategies at times.

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