Monday, June 02, 2008
This is Patrick Murphy, he is a softball coach for the University of Alabama, he is a certifiable master of strategery. He got his # 3 seeded Crimson Tide to the semifinals of the College World Series where they faced off against the #6 seed Arizona Sun Devils in a best of three showdown. And after 6 innings the Tide were 1 run away from taking a 1 game lead when Murphy busted out the most brilliant strategic deicision ever. Walk the leadoff hitter intentionally to avoid the game tieing home run.
See Kaitlin Cochran is apparently the Barry Bonds in the softball world only with we can hope less steroids. Over her career Cochran has hit .461 with 48 home runs. So Murphy decided he was going to force the Sun Devils other players to beat him and he told his pitcher to walk Cochran every time up to the plate in game 1.
So up 1 in the 7th apparently Murphy decided that it was better to put a runner on base with no outs than take a .500 chance of actually getting an out. The next batter bunted Cochran to 2nd. The following batter hit a double into the gap tieing the ball game. Three batters later the Sun Devils had a 3-1 courtesy of another double. The Sun Devils shut out the Crimson Tide in the bottom half of the inning going onto take a 1-0 series lead.
The following game Murphy decided to pitch to Cochran and she went 0-2 reaching base once after getting hit by the pitch. The next batter hit a 3 run home run and the Crimson Tide were sunk.
Memo to any coach in America, if you're up by 1 run in the last inning, do not intentionally walk the hitter. Chance of Getting on base if you pitch to the hitter < 100%. Chance of Getting on Base if Intentionally Walked = 100%. There's a simple equation for you to remember next season Mr. Murphy.