Last night’s NL west game is a prime example of why I am not a fan of the intentional walk.
Joe Torre chose to look on the bright side after the Los Angeles Dodgers walked in the winning run in a 4-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
Diamondbacks’ winning rally began when Ramon Troncoso (4-3) threw away Gerardo Parra’s roller to the mound, allowing him to reach second on the error.
As it turned out, that was the only ball that left the infield in the bottom of the ninth.
Trent Oeltjen ran for Parra and took third on Ryan Roberts’ sacrifice. After intentional walks to Stephen Drew and Justin Upton, Troncoso missed with a 3-2 fastball to Mark Reynolds, who had fouled off a pair of pitches with two strikes.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Reynolds said. “I just fouled off some tough pitches and was able to work a good AB.”
Torre said he walked Drew and Upton to set up a force at home. He also hoped Troncoso could strike out Reynolds, who leads the majors with 190 strikeouts.
Not one ball put into play outside the infield and the Dodgers lose. Isn’t that ridiculous? I know what Torre was trying to do, to set up a double play or force play. By loading the bases he takes away his pitcher’s margin of error. Do you know batting averages are higher when the sacks are full. The simple reason why- A pitcher has to try being perfect with the batter up there, and we humans are error prone.
Don Zimmer while managing the Chicago Cubs intentionally walked his team out of a World Series appearance in 1990. Mr. Potato Head ordered his pitcher to IW one batter which filled the bases with one out. The pitcher got the first out, then Will Clark hit a grand slam. That worked real well, eh? The list of managers who hated issuing intentional walks is long. Billy Martin, Dick Howser, Walter Alston in his last years managing the Dodgers. Yes there are times it is a good strategy but to fill the bases just so you can get a force at all bags isn’t one of them.
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