Manager's moment: Intentional walk
October, 29, 2011
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ST. LOUIS -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington faced an interesting decision in the fourth inning of Game 7. With the Rangers down 3-2, reliever Scott Feldman walked Allen Craig and hit Albert Pujols on an 0-2 pitch.
After Lance Berkman grounded to first for the second out (and the runners moved up), David Freese came to the plate. The eventual World Series MVP had already done ridiculous damage in the Fall Classic and Washington didn't want to take any chances.
So with first base open, he intentionally walked Freese to load the bases for Yadier Molina. But that meant there was no margin for error for Feldman. And for a guy struggling to throw strikes in that inning, it created an uncomfortable situation. Feldman threw three straight balls to fall behind 3-0. He did get a couple of strikes in as Molina took all the way. But his 3-2 pitch was low and Molina walked to score a run.
That forced Washington to make a pitching change and C.J. Wilson came in and promptly hit the next batter, Rafael Furcal. All of a sudden a 3-2 game became a 5-2 game and the Rangers never recovered.