Joe Sheehan, the former Baseball Prospectus star, current Sports Illustrated contributor and publisher of his own on-line newsletter, offered a strong defense of John Farrell's decision not to walk Jon Jay with first base open in the ninth inning Saturday night. Here was Sheehan's reasoning:
"In a game that had a lot of poor managing, let's take a second to mention John Farrell's decision to pitch to Jon Jay with second and third and one out. The intentional walk tends to be given in that spot, especially given the caliber of the next hitters: [Pete] Kozma and Kolten Wong. The idea is that you'll have a force at any base, and a potential double-play opportunity. The trade-off is that the pitcher has lost his cushion to miss the strike zone, which changes the dynamics of the at-bat well in the batter's favor.
"In this case, the downside of the intentional walk was larger than the upside; with Molina on third, the difference between a tag play and a force wasn't much. Most ground balls would be good enough to retire Molina in either case. At the plate, Farrell would be trading Jay with second and third for Wong with the bases loaded, assuming Kozma made an out. Setting up the double play for Kozma assumes that Kozma can make contact, which as we've seen, is far from certain. Finally, you have Uehara on the mound, who has only allowed the lowest OBP of any pitcher ever. Don't make his life harder. Farrell made the right decision; it's not always just about setting up forces and double plays, there's a cost involved."