Why the Intentional Walk Rage?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Watching last nights game got me thinking, when did the Intentional Walk become all the rage? During the entire 162 game regular season the St. Louis Cardinals intentionally walked a total of 44 batters while the Texas Rangers intentionally walked just 21. The intentional walk is something normally reserved for a special occasion, like the pitcher is coming up next, or the winning run is on 2nd in the 9th inning and you want to set up a force play. Last night alone the two teams combined for a total of 6 intentional walks and instead of strategy it just seemed like the casual thing to do.

In some cases these walks backfired and in some cases they were completely befuddling. The Rangers decided, Fuck it, we're not pitching to Albert Pujols in any scenario. Hell we're not even going to pitch to him with 2 outs and no one on. Conveniently for Ron Washington, of the three times they intentionally walked Pujols the only time Holliday didn't do something horrific, like bounce into a double play, was this occasion. Instead he set up a 2nd and 3rd where, you guessed it, they intentionally walked another guy. I know Pujols is the best player in baseball and hit 3 homers in game 3, but 2 out no one on? Have a little faith there Ron.

The game wouldn't be complete with a little Tony LaRussa over managing would it? Instead of just pitching to Nelson Cruz, who has not been enfuego this series, he intentionally walks him to set up the double play, while that might make some sense, it also ensured that if they didn't turn the double play that Napoli was going to get up with runners on. They didn't get the double play, they couldn't intentionally walk Napoli, even though they probably would have liked to, game over Rangers.

I just have to wonder why the Intentional Walk is all the rage in the postseason yet is rarely ever utilized in the regular season. Luckily for Ron Washington it worked out for him, unfortunately for Tony Quick Trigger LaRussa, it didn't work out for him.

Posted by Simon at 12:18 PM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!

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