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On bunting, bombing and the Bronx - and Baltimore

Jayson Nix sacrifice bunts in the seventh inning.

Jayson Nix sacrifice bunts in the seventh inning. (August 5, 2012) Credit: David Pokress

Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long opened the door Tuesday, and Joe Girardi slammed it shut Wednesday.

Long suggested the Yankees should maybe, possibly, start bunting more to get on base, make things happen and help themselves out of their recent offensive funk.

"We're not the Bronx bunters," Girardi said the following day, "and we really never have been."

That's true. But still, it's a fair question to ask about a struggling offense that relies heavily on the home run.

So why isn't anyone asking it of the Baltimore Orioles?

The Yankees lead the majors in what Baseball Prospectus calls the "Guillen Number," the percentage of runs scored by a team solely on home runs. Through games of Sept. 5, the Yankees have scored 648 runs, 49.23 percent of which have been produced via home runs.

The Baltimore Orioles are second in the majors with 46.5 percent of their 585 runs scored coming via the home run.

So, how come no one is suggesting the Orioles start bunting? Hmmm, perhaps because the Orioles are 7-3 in their last 10 games as opposed to the Yankees' 4-6 mark and their 10-game lead as of July 18 reduced to 1 heading into a four-game series between the two teams.

Of the eight teams in the American League competing for five playoff spots, five are ranked in the top 10 for the Guillen Number: 1. Yankees (49.23), 2. Orioles (46.5), 5. White Sox (44.37), 6. Athletics (42.04), 9. Angels (38.45).

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