ST. LOUIS -- The strategy may be unorthodox for a middle-of-the-lineup power threat, but manager Mike Matheny said he won't discourage first baseman Matt Adams from considering laying a bunt down the third-base line if teams continue to shift their defense against him.
Adams has shown bunt a handful of times this postseason but has not yet tested the defense by laying one down. The Pirates routinely had their third baseman shifted over to the shortstop position when Adams was hitting in the National League Division Series. The Dodgers used a variation of that shift in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series, though the third baseman did not leave as much of a hole along the third-base line.
"You hate to see your four-hole hitter square around to bunt, but sometimes you need him on base," manager Mike Matheny said. "I'm not trying to be coy about it. I'll talk about it bluntly, because that's one of the ways to adjust it."
Matheny described Adams as a "good enough" bunter, though in this situation, just pushing a bunt past the pitcher would likely assure Adams of reaching.
When it comes to Adams' swing, though, the Cardinals do not want him trying to force hits the other way simply because of defensive alignment. He does pull the ball with regularity, but not exclusively. Of the 216 balls Adams put in play during the regular season, 193 were toward center and right. The remaining 33 went to left.
"He's not a dead-pull guy. He can hit the ball all over," Matheny said. "So I think it's going to work itself out. What I don't want him doing is trying to alter his swing for the shift. I just don't think that's a great approach. I think he needs to stick with his approach."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.