The baseball season is not yet half over, but for those of us who view the shift as a stain on the game, or perhaps even a scourge, the play of the year has already happened. It came last Monday when Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter, a left-hander, faced a Marlins infield that was packed to the right side. The count was 1-1 when Carpenter bunted down the third-base line and was standing on second before a Marlin could get to the ball. We anti-shifters took particular glee at watching pitcher Elieser Hernandez’s body language as he chased down the ball. Hernandez looked this way and that for a teammate, any teammate, to track down the ball until he realized he was going to have to do it by himself. Hernandez had to run all the way to the outfield. "I do it every time,” Carpenter told reporters after the game. “It's nothing new. Every time they shift me with less than two strikes, I bunt. I'm surprised that they did it because it's in the books.” The shift took over baseball years ago. Teams have employed a defense shift on nearly 25 percent of pitches thrown this season, according to Fangraphs.com. Major League Baseball realizes it might have a problem and reportedly is considering restricting defensive shifts. Carpenter’s bunt begs the obvious question: Why don’t more players do it? That would be a preferable way to combat the shift rather than having league officials craft rules restricting where fielders can play, or how often they can shift. “You have to find a way to compete, and if it’s there, I feel like guys should take it,” said Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly, a former teammate of Carpenter’s with the Cardinals. “I’ve seen him do it a couple of times.” To many of us, bunting seems like an easy solution to the problem. But apparently bunting a big league fastball or slider is not as easy as we imagine. “Guy’s throwing 95 miles per hour and you have to able to watch it hit your bat and put it in a specific spot,” Kelly said. “It’s definitely a tough thing to do but if guys master it, they might stop shifting.” Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta saw the highlight of Carpenter’s bunt and enjoyed it as much as the rest of us. But he doesn’t see the tactic catching on in a significant way. “I remember the last time I tried, I almost smashed these two fingers,” Peralta said, holding up his left hand. “It looks easy, but I’m telling you it’s not easy. Being at home plate, having a pitcher on the mound throwing all this kind of nasty stuff and think, ‘Oh, I’m just going to hit the ball through that hole.’ “I wish it could happen so everybody could hit .300 in the big leagues. If it was that easy, everybody would be in the Hall of Fame.” Not every major league player is adept at bunting, as we saw earlier this week when Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer fouled a practice bunt off his nose. And managers employing a shift would love to see a power hitter try to bunt rather than swing away. That's a victory for the defense. Still, it’s interesting that we don’t see more players try it. “We do have some good bunters but the game is trending in a totally different direction when it comes to giving up outs,” Diamondbacks Manager Torey Lovullo said. “If you’re comfortable enough to make that type of play, I endorse that 100% because anytime you get on base you have a chance to score some runs.” Certain Diamondbacks have the freedom to bunt on their own, but clearly Lovullo doesn’t think anyone is going to make a good living do it. But bunting can be a tool against the shift, as can learning how to hit to the opposite field while coming up through developmental leagues. The more players who can do that, the less we’re going to see the shift. Carpenter’s bunt double was just the 10th since 2008, per Fangraphs, so we anti-shifters can’t count on that play resulting in sweeping changes to the way the game is played these days. It didn’t even change the way the Marlins played last Monday. They employed the same shift on Carpenter in his next at bat. He swung away and beat out a dribbler for a single. Follow Kent Somers on twitter @kentsomers .