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Boston Red
03-04-2008, 11:48 AM
(Hopefully this is the right forum for this, because it actually is baseball related, but college and not pro baseball)

On another forum, there has been a bit of lively discussion surrounding the way the end of a recent college game played out. Wanted to see what Redszoners think. Here is the situation:

Team A and Team B are playing in the bottom of the 10th inning. The score is 0-0, and Team B has runners at second and third with two out. Assume both the hitter coming to the plate and the hitter on deck are both rightys (or both leftys, doesn't matter) and that they are considered equally strong hitters. You are the manager of Team A. What do you do? Do you walk the first hitter so there is a force at any base? Or do you take your chances with the first hitter?

cumberlandreds
03-04-2008, 11:54 AM
With two out and both hitters are nearly equal, I would just take my chances with the first hitter. It seems to me when you start walking people just to set up a force play bad things start happening.

Danny Serafini
03-04-2008, 12:01 PM
If the two hitters are truly equal you absolutely walk the first hitter. At the plate their odds of getting on base are the same, but on defense your odds of retiring the hitter or a runner are better with the extra force out opportunity.

Joseph
03-04-2008, 12:08 PM
I walk the hitter to set up the force.

OldRightHander
03-04-2008, 12:15 PM
I understand the odds of the extra force, but there aren't as many ways for a runner to score from second as there are from third. I think I would go after the first hitter. If you walk him, you have the extra force, but you also have a runner on third who can score if your pitcher lets go with a wild one or hits or walks the batter. A little bobble by the shortstop and he scores from third. If he's at second, those events only send him to third but he still doesn't score. I guess either side has its merits.

IslandRed
03-04-2008, 12:22 PM
ORH, I think in his scenario the winning run is already on third base.

I would probably issue the pass to set up the force at any base, but only if I trusted my pitcher to throw strikes, since a walk loses the game.

OldRightHander
03-04-2008, 12:25 PM
ORH, I think in his scenario the winning run is already on third base.

I would probably issue the pass to set up the force at any base, but only if I trusted my pitcher to throw strikes, since a walk loses the game.

Oops. I was thinking the runners are on first and second. If he's already at third, then go ahead and walk the guy. I need to read more carefully sometimes.

Boston Red
03-04-2008, 12:38 PM
Interesting. This spoils the fun a bit, but here is what happened. The coach agreed with most of you. He intentionally walked the first hitter. The pitcher promptly walked in the winning run.

Obviously this does not mean that his decision was necessarily wrong, but this is definitely the scenario I'd have been most concerned about in the first place.

joshnky
03-04-2008, 12:45 PM
Interesting. This spoils the fun a bit, but here is what happened. The coach agreed with most of you. He intentionally walked the first hitter. The pitcher promptly walked in the winning run.

Obviously this does not mean that his decision was necessarily wrong, but this is definitely the scenario I'd have been most concerned about in the first place.

It was the right play and unfortunately it backfired for Louisville and now a lot of basketball fans who are new to baseball are ripping the coach. You walk the batter and trust your pitcher to get the force out. If you can't trust the pitcher in that situation you either replace him or you're screwed anyway because he is not good enough to get out of the inning.

Clearly the pitcher didn't handle the pressure well but hopefully this will be a learning experience that will help him later in the season when the games matter more.

RedsBaron
03-04-2008, 12:52 PM
Interesting. This spoils the fun a bit, but here is what happened. The coach agreed with most of you. He intentionally walked the first hitter. The pitcher promptly walked in the winning run.

Obviously this does not mean that his decision was necessarily wrong, but this is definitely the scenario I'd have been most concerned about in the first place.

It really depends upon who my pitcher is. If I have Greg Maddux on the mound, a guy with great control, I'd walk the first hitter to set up the force at any base. If I have Homer Bailey pitching, I leave first base open; Homer may strike the first hitter out, but if I walk that guy intentionally it puts a lot of pressure on Homer to then not walk the next guy.
Oh, if I have Eric Milton pitching, I leave the dugout and go ahead and shower; the game's over anyway.

dabvu2498
03-04-2008, 12:58 PM
It really depends upon who my pitcher is. If I have Greg Maddux on the mound, a guy with great control, I'd walk the first hitter to set up the force at any base. If I have Homer Bailey pitching, I leave first base open; Homer may strike the first hitter out, but if I walk that guy intentionally it puts a lot of pressure on Homer to then not walk the next guy.
Oh, if I have Eric Milton pitching, I leave the dugout and go ahead and shower; the game's over anyway.

I tend to agree.

This also is a good spot for the unintentional, intentional walk. Let the pitcher throw a couple pitches out of the zone, if you get the hitter to swing a a bad pitch, get some kind of a count advantage, try and go ahead and finish him. If it gets to 2-0, put him on.

Sea Ray
03-04-2008, 04:53 PM
I definitely do not walk the first hitter. Intentionally filling the bases puts too much pressure on the pitcher to throw strikes. He also can't throw inside for fear of a Craig Biggio move to let the ball clip him. The chances of a walk is much greater than a play where a force is your only chance at an out. It also increases the chances of the pitcher grooving one down the middle.

I'm not at all surprised how this worked out.

Rojo
03-04-2008, 04:56 PM
In the bigs I walk him. At the college level I don't know that I'd trust my pitcher to throw strikes.

IslandRed
03-04-2008, 05:08 PM
Other factors to consider are (1) the ability of the upcoming hitters to beat out an infield hit and (2) the quality of the infield defense. It's not as big a factor as the ability of the pitcher to throw strikes, but the degree of surety about getting the out at first base matters.

Johnny Footstool
03-04-2008, 05:24 PM
I tend to agree.

This also is a good spot for the unintentional, intentional walk. Let the pitcher throw a couple pitches out of the zone, if you get the hitter to swing a a bad pitch, get some kind of a count advantage, try and go ahead and finish him. If it gets to 2-0, put him on.

I'm a fan of the old pitch-around. The batter is feeling just as much pressure as the pitcher in that situation. Give him your best pitch on the first pitch, then see if he's anxious enough to chase some high fastballs.

SunDeck
03-04-2008, 05:57 PM
I think the question is not what would I do, but how many Redszoners will scream into the game thread that it's a bone headed move?

UKFlounder
03-04-2008, 07:54 PM
I think the question is not what would I do, but how many Redszoners will scream into the game thread that it's a bone headed move?

At either choice.