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. Francisco Rodriguez hopes to stay with Brewers

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:36 PM EDT

    Francisco Rodriguez Getty Getty Images

    Rodriguez had to settle for a one-year, $3.25 million contract before the beginning of spring training and began the season in a set-up role, but he ended up with a 3.04 ERA with 73/18 K/BB ratio over 68 innings while going 44-for-49 in save chances.

  2. Clay Buchholz to undergo knee surgery Tuesday

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    374f480c3966bc23d14c1a816c436699 AP

    After being limited to 16 starts last season, Buchholz managed to make 28 starts this year, but he saw his ERA jump from 1.74 to 5.34 in the process.

  3. Rusney Castillo to report to Arizona Fall League later this week

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT

    Rusney Castillo Getty Getty Images

    Castillo landed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with Boston in August and batted .333 (12-for-36) with two home runs, one double, and three stolen bases during his first taste of the majors earlier this month.

  4. Nationals likely to use Tanner Roark in the bullpen for playoffs

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT

    tanner roark getty Getty Images

    Roark has a 2.57 ERA in 252 innings as a big leaguer.

  5. Mariners designate Corey Hart for assignment, clearing spot for Jesus Montero on 40-man roster

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT

    mariners logo

    The Mariners gave Hart a one-year, $6 million deal last winter in hopes that he would be able to get his career back on track after multiple knee surgeries cost him the entire 2013 season, but he batted just .203 with six home runs and a .590 OPS over 68 games this season.

  6. Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to be their third baseman next season

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:49 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Reuters Reuters

    Joe Girardi says “we have to see where he’s at.”

  7. Trevor Plouffe undergoes left forearm surgery

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:29 PM EDT

    Trevor Plouffe AP AP

    Plouffe is expected to be ready for spring training.

  8. Fired by the Twins, Ron Gardenhire wants to manage again

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT

    Ron Gardenhire AP

    Gardenhire will be paid by the Twins in 2015 as part of a two-year contract signed exactly one year ago tomorrow.

  9. Josh Hamilton tests readiness for postseason with workout

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:21 PM EDT

    022d61eeac9b78b55bf1dbc881a16fd8 Getty Images

    Josh Hamilton has been limited to just one game since September 4 due to right shoulder, chest, and rib cage injuries, but he’s still hopes to be ready for the upcoming division series.

  10. Rangers want to re-sign Colby Lewis

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    colby lewis reuters Reuters

    Lewis has been with the Rangers since 2010.

  11. MLB has its seventh-best attendance total in history

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    old turnstile

    A good attendance season for MLB. Not the best, but still strong.

  12. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke’s job status is unclear

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    Ron Roenicke Brewers AP

    Roenicke has a 335-313 (.517) record in four seasons as the Brewers’ manager.

  13. REPORT: The Astros to name A.J. Hinch their new manager today

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT

    A.J. Hinch

    The former Diamondbacks manager gets a second chance.

  14. The incredible awfulness that was Allen Craig’s 2014 season

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    Allen Craig Allen Craig

    Craig had a season unlike any other first baseman or corner outfielder in 70 years.

  15. Pirates to start Edinson Volquez in Wild Card playoff game

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

    Edinson Volquez AP

    Here’s how far Edinson Volquez has come in one year: Last season he posted a 5.71 ERA and allowed the most earned runs in the league.

  16. Who to root for in the postseason — National League

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

    Best Fans

    Part Two of our handy guide to help you pick a team to root for in the event your team is not in the playoffs.

  17. Ron Gardenhire: Too much of the credit, too much of the blame

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Ron Gardenhire AP

    For a few years there, I saw it as my personal mission to the spread the gospel of Ron Gardenhire.

  18. Who to root for in the postseason — American League

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 3.04.32 PM Getty Images

    If your team is eliminated, what do you do? Let us help.

  19. Jason Giambi: “Maybe somebody’s looking for a broken down 44-year-old”

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:48 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

    “I’ve been playing this game since I was five years old.”

Featured video

Can Nationals run the playoff table?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Jeter (3351)
  2. C. Kershaw (2360)
  3. R. Martin (2174)
  4. J. Altuve (1819)
  5. A. Rodriguez (1748)
  1. M. Trout (1702)
  2. P. Hughes (1678)
  3. D. Ortiz (1657)
  4. T. d'Arnaud (1645)
  5. J. Hamilton (1599)