Skip to content

Ron Washington may have ordered the worst intentional walk ever yesterday

May 12, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Getty Images

So, to catch you up quickly, I put up my Intentional Walk Rage System up the other day in response to a particularly awful walk ordered by Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost. The system has six parts to it and has a maximum of 25 points — that being the perfectly awful intentional walk. Yost’s ordered walk of Robinson Cano almost tilted the system but not quite. It turned out to be a 23-point walk on the rage system, meaning it was bad enough to make me want to hit my head with a wok again and again but not quite bad enough to make me want to make me want to have a piano land on my head

Sunday, Texas manager Ron Washington tried desperately to top him, tried desperately for the coveted 25-point walk. He didn’t quite do it. As you will see,  though, his walk was SO BAD it did force me to add another element to the system. Bonus points.

Let’s go through the Washington walk step by step. Sunday, Texas against Boston, the Red Sox leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia began the game with a double. Red Sox manager John Farrell then had Shane Victorino sacrifice bunt …  if there was rage system for terrible sacrifice bunts THAT ONE would rank very high. I haven’t come up with the features of that system yet but bunting in the first inning, in Texas, with a good hitter and with the double play not even in order would certainly score very high.

But we’re not talking bunts, we’re talking walks, so Pedroia moved to third. Up came David Ortiz. The Rangers had lefty Robbie Ross Jr. on the mound so the Red Sox had the lefty-lefty matchup. Washington ordered the intentional walk anyway.

Let’s put it into the system and see what we get:

Q1: What inning was it? 

First inning, so that gets the maximum number of points of rage.

Result: 9 points.

Q2: Did the walk bring up the opposing pitcher or a particularly weak hitter?

No. No. No. No. No. No. The walk brought up Mike Napoli, who is a terrific hitter. He has a a lifetime 127 OPS+.

Result: 3 points

Total: 12 points

Q3: Did the walk give your team the platoon advantage or force the opposing manager to go to his bench?

No. It gave the exact opposite of the platoon advantage. More on this in a minute.

Result: 3 points.

Total: 15 points

Q4: Does the baserunner matter?

Absolutely. First inning, the baserunner matters a lot.

Result: 3 points

Total: 18 points

Q5: Are you setting up the double play to get out of an inning?

Well … yes. There was only one out in the inning so part of the strategy was to get out of the inning. This does reduce the outrageousness slightly.

Result: 0 points

Total: 18 points.

Q6: Are you intentionally walking someone SOLELY to avoid a great hitter?

No. Not solely. I’d say it was 75% to avoid Ortiz, though. The maximum you can give here is four points. I’ll give three points.

Result: 3 points

Final total: 21 points.

So, by the math, this walk was not quite as bad as the Royals walk of Cano. But there is another factor I had not considered the first time around … mainly because I just didn’t think any manager would be odd enough to force this question.

Q7: Is the player you are walking to face CLEARLY BETTER than the the batter you walk?

This takes the question to a whole other level. As much as I despised all those Barry Bonds intentional walks, as much as I despise all those cowardly decisions not to trust pitchers to get out good hitters, as much as all that drives me nuts … I will generally concede that, hey, managers are ordering these walks to lesser hitters.

But in this case? No. I don’t think so. Well, certainly, David Ortiz is an overall better hitter than Mike Napoli. But we are not talking about an general situation here. We are talking about a situation where the pitcher on the mound is left-handed.

Mike Napoli is a MUCH better hitter against lefties than righties.

David Ortiz is a MUCH worse hitter against lefties than righties.

You might argue that this is already covered in the platoon advantage question, but I’m asking making a slightly different point here. In this case, Mike Napoli is also a better hitter than David Ortiz. One way to test this is to ask the question in reverse. Let’s say you have a lefty on the mound and there’s a man on third base. You want to intentionally walk someone to set up the double play. Which intentional walk would make MORE sense?

1. Walk Ortiz to face Napoli?

2. Walk Napoli to face Ortiz?

David Ortiz, in his career, hits .268/.341/.480 against lefties. Last year he hit .260/.315/.418.

Mike Napoli, in his career, hits .275/.385/.521 against lefties. Last year he hit .284/.376/.523.

I’m not sure how to score walking one hitter to face a better hitter on the scale because it’s so ridiculous that I’m not sure it comes up often enough. For now, it’s enough to give this Washington walk a three-point bonus, making it a 24-point intentional walk … just about enough to peak my general rage and disgust. It goes without saying that Napoli promptly doubled, in the end all three runs scores, and the Rangers lost by three. I’ve made the point before that the rage system is unconcerned with the result of the walk — sometimes stupid intentional walks get good results just like sometimes terrible poker players win money. But in this case, the result is fulfilling. A walk that bad deserves to blow up.

Remember how Andy Griffith on the old Andy Griffith Show would only give Barney Fife one bullet, in case of emergencies? The Rangers might want to consider doing something like that for Ron Washington, for his own good.

Latest Posts
  1. Bryan Price apologizes for his salty language. Not his disdain for the media.

    Apr 21, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT

    reds logo

    Bryan Price doesn’t fully grok what was so remarkable about his rant. And the Reds don’t seem to care.

  2. Barry Zito is getting knocked around at Triple-A

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    Barry Zito Getty Images

    How much longer will the 37-year-old will keep trying after sitting out all of 2014?

  3. The Angels have a comeback plan for Josh Hamilton

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT

    Josh Hamilton AP

    But, like everything else having to do with their treatment of him, there’s a thread of cynicism to it.

  4. An interesting interview with Barry Bonds’ son Nicolai

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT

    Barry Bonds AP

    A writer who once ripped Barry Bonds for 400 pages or so talked with Bonds’ son about the nature of celebrity and celebrity villains.

  5. Video: Jose Iglesias made a ridiculous play last night

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Jose Iglesias AP

    Off-balance, running the other way, across his body, deep in the hole and he STILL got the speedy Brett Gardner.

  6. What Bryan Price’s rant was really all about

    Apr 21, 2015, 8:44 AM EDT

    Getty Bryan Price

    The F-bombs were hilarious, but the substance of Price’s rant was far more telling.

  7. And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

    Apr 21, 2015, 6:42 AM EDT

    Ralphie

    It was a foul night for Ohio baseball.

  8. Ian Kennedy on track to return from the disabled list Saturday

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Getty Images

    Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy landed on the disabled list after exiting his season debut on April 9 with a mild left hamstring strain, but he’s on track to return Saturday against the Dodgers.

  9. Jonathan Lucroy headed to disabled list with broken toe

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    jonathan lucroy getty Getty Images

    Things are quickly going from bad to worse for the Brewers.

  10. Reds manager Bryan Price goes on profanity-laden tirade against media

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:06 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    This from Reds manager Bryan Price is not a good look at all.

  11. Cubs-Pirates delayed for 23 minutes after fan hit by foul ball behind home plate

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:49 PM EDT

    PNC Park

    Tonight’s Cubs-Pirates game was delayed for 23 minutes after a woman was hit in the back of the head by a foul ball in the top of the second inning.

  12. Ben Zobrist to rest for a couple of days after getting cortisone shot in knee

    Apr 20, 2015, 8:55 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Getty Images

    Ben Zobrist left Sunday’s game due to left knee soreness and he’s now slated to miss at least another couple of days after receiving a cortisone shot.

  13. Justin Verlander undergoes MRI which confirms triceps strain

    Apr 20, 2015, 7:29 PM EDT

    Justin Verlander AP

    Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander had to cut a simulated game short last Wednesday and he’s currently in shutdown mode due to continued soreness in his throwing arm.

  14. Mets announce injury timetables for Travis d’Arnaud and Jerry Blevins

    Apr 20, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

    mets logo

    The Mets won their eighth straight game Sunday against the Marlins to improve to 10-3 on the year, but it came as a cost, as catcher Travis d’Arnaud and left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins were forced to leave the game due to injuries. Today we learned a little bit more about how long they’ll be sidelined.

  15. Dodgertown lives

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Dodgertown

    It’s been a facility in flux since the Dodgers left in 2008, but it has a new life under new management.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4812)
  2. D. Salazar (4050)
  3. D. Span (3933)
  4. C. Gomez (3723)
  5. J. Reyes (3658)
  1. D. Mesoraco (3624)
  2. D. Travis (3576)
  3. Y. Puig (3550)
  4. J. Hamilton (3433)
  5. J. Verlander (3412)