Bu(n)t … the Unwritten Rules!

Baseball season is only a week old, and the actual or alleged unwritten rules are drawing a lot of writing. Whether it's Brian Dozier of the Twins barking about Chance Sisco dropping a ninth-inning bunt or Andrelton Simmons of the Angels dropping one in the fifth to thwart Corey Kluber's (Indians) no-hitter in the making.

Well, now.

Let's look at the Simmons bunt Wednesday afternoon first. It was the fifth inning. This wasn't Kluber in the ninth being three outs or less from consummating a no-hitter. It might be a cheap play to try beating out a bunt for a hit in that scenario, if the bunter's club is also down by, say, two runs or less. Might.

But the Angels were down 2-0 in the fifth with one out when Simmons noticed Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez playing too deep. This wasn't Simmons trying to drag one up the line or push one just enough to the side of the mound to make it stick. This was Ramirez essentially holding a "Go for it!" sign around his neck.

Simmons went for it on the first pitch, right up the third base line, and Ramirez's hustle for the ball couldn't arrest Simmons at first base. But it did put a stop to any no-hit ideas in Kluber's head and might have taken him off his page from there. He struck out Luis Valbuena to follow up, but then came Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani has been one of baseball's conversation pieces this week after winning his first start of the season on the mound (against the Athletics, on Sunday) with a powerful performance undermined only by a rocky third inning, and after playing Tuesday as the Angels' designated hitter and cranking a hefty three-run homer into the right field bleachers.

That conversation's going to crank into something close to overdrive now. Because after Valbuena's punchout, Ohtani cranked a 1-1, up-and-away Kluber fastball over the left center field fence. And the game tied at two to stay, until Zack Cozart — once an Indian and also formerly an Athletic — hit a one-out, full count fastball from Cleveland reliever Zach McAllister into the left field bullpens in the bottom of the thirteenth.

But so, one fears, will the conversations about the actual or alleged unwritten rules and whether Simmons, like Sisco, were naughty boys for disobeying them. The answer, of course, is, no, they were being nothing but boys looking for a way to help their clubs win games.

It didn't quite work out that way for Sisco, but as with Simmons Sisco against the Twins actually given a license to do whatever the hell he damn well pleased in that ninth-inning plate appearance Sunday. The Twins put the overshift on against Sisco and handed him the left side of the field. What did they think he was supposed to do, take it as an April Fool's Day joke and thank the nice Twins by hitting it right into their packed right side and make an out like a good boy?

Uh, no.

The Orioles happened to be in the hole 7-0, with Twins starter Jose Berrios working on a one-hitter. In fact, Sisco himself accounted for the game's only hit to that point, ripping a third-inning double. But now, gifted the entire left side of the field, Sisco did only what any batter with the proverbial two brain cells to rub together should have done — accepted the gift for what it really was, damn foolishness on the part of a club with a 7-0 lead, which is exactly what Sisco did.

Berrios recovered enough to keep the shutout even if he surrendered a walk and another hit before he finished what he started and won the game. Not that he was thrilled about it. "I don't care if he's bunting," the pitcher said after the game. "I just know it's not good for baseball in that situation. That's it."

But Dozier was more blunt and foolish. "Obviously, we're not a fan of it," he fumed. "He's a young kid. I could've said something at second base but they have tremendous veteran leadership over there." He could have said something about what's wrong with over-shifting a hitter in the ninth when you have a 7-run lead, if it's that non-competitive a moment, but they must not have tremendous veteran leadership in the Twins' clubhouse just yet.

Here's hoping that tremendous Orioles veteran leadership took the kid to one side and said, "They're stupid enough to put a shift on you when they're up, 7-0, and you don't make them pay for it, you'll be fined dinner, drinks, and carfare for the whole team when we convene the next Kangaroo Court."

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