By In Baseball, Joe Vault

The Intentional Walk Rage System

All intentional walks are detestable. This is my personal philosophy, not unlike the way “Know Thyself” was the personal philosophy of Socrates. But even as a strict anti-intentional walk fundamentalist, I understand that some intentional walks are more infuriating than others.

So I came up with a point system to determine just how much I will despise an intentional walk. I call it my Intentional Walk Rage System (IWRS).

Question 1: What inning was the walk in?

If it was in the ninth inning or later, it scores one point on the IWRS. And then, for each inning earlier, you add one point. So an intentional walk in the eighth inning scores two points, in the seventh scores three points and so on.

Question 2: Did the walk bring up the opposing pitcher or a particularly weak hitter?

If yes, then it scores zero points. If no, add three points. Remember, the higher the IWRS score, the bigger the rage.

Question 3: Did the walk give your team the platoon advantage or force the opposing manager to go to his bench?

If yes, score it zero points. If no, add three points.

Question 4: Does the extra baserunner matter?

By this I mean, if the extra runner scores, will it have some impact on the game. For instance, bottom of the ninth, score tied, runner on third, if you intentionally walk the next batter, his run does not matter. The runner on third would win the game. If the baserunner does not matter, subtract a point from the total. If he does, add three points. I am not opposed to using a sliding scale (sometimes the intentionally walked runner represents a run that SORT of matters, but not really).

Question 5: Are you setting up the double play to get out of an inning?

If yes, add zero points. If no, add three points.

Question 6: Are you intentionally walking someone SOLELY to avoid a great hitter?

If no, add zero points. If yes, add 4 points. There’s little that ticks me off more than a manager ordering an intentional walk just to avoid a good hitter. It’s bad strategy, it’s anti-competitive, it shows no confidence in your own pitcher and it’s cowardly.

Notice, all of my questions can be asked BEFORE the walk is issued. We are not talking here about whether the walk “works” or “blows up.” In baseball, stupid decisions work often. Great decisions fail often.

OK, so there is a zero point intentional walk (generally, ninth inning or later, less than two outs, winning run on third base, intentionally walking someone to give your team a chance of getting out of the jam). This would be an intentional walk i can tolerate. It’s still detestable. But tolerable.

On the other side of the spectrum, there is the 25-point intentional walk — the highest possible score, the perfect intentional walk — the sort of walk that makes me want to hold tight to my “Weaver on Strategy” book and cry for the downfall of humanity.

Thursday night, while I was watching Johnny Manziel awkwardly drink water as NFL teams kept pretending he wasn’t there, we almost had the 25-point walk. The fact that the walk was ordered by Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost was just a bonus.

Ned Yost utterly baffles me. He baffles me because, best I can tell, he believes what he believes … today. Tomorrow, yeah, he might believe something else. Those small-ball managers like Gene Mauch or the pitcher-changers like Tony La Russa or the grit-and-heart managers like Ron Gardenhire might be infuriating but you KNOW they deeply believe in a certain way of playing baseball. That matters. Sometimes, conviction trumps all, especially when it comes to sports strategy. The difference between a good and bad lineup in baseball, for instance, is so small that if a manager deeply believes in a non-optimal strategy (like putting a .300 on-base percentage guy in the leadoff spot) there’s a decent chance it will not hurt the team much, especially if that leadoff hitter is widely respected in the clubhouse.

But what drives me nuts is a manager who today believes one thing, tomorrow believes a second thing, the next day goes back to the first thing, the day after that believes something else entirely. In this, you not only lose the strategic edge (which may or may not be trivial) you also leave your players kind of bemused. If you hit the .300 OBP guy everybody likes at leadoff, they might stand behind you. If you hit the .300 OBP guy at leadoff one day, pull him the next because he doesn’t get on base enough, put him back in the leadoff spot because your gut tells you he’s about to get hot, take him out again because he doesn’t get on base … you leave EVERYBODY ticked off.

Ned Yost is like this. He’s a “gut” manager, meaning he not only makes odd decisions because they feel right in the moment but, heck, tomorrow he might do something entirely different because his gut boomed a different rumble.

Because of this, I have no idea how Yost feels about the intentional walk. Last year, Yost’s Royals allowed the second fewest intentional walks in the American League — only Boston had fewer. The year before that, however, they led the American League in intentional walks. The year before that, they were near the top, his last year in Milwaukee the Brewers were near the bottom.

The guy’s all over the map, and it’s not only with intentional walks. Sometimes he will use a closer in a tie game on the road, sometimes he won’t. Sometimes he will sacrifice bunt in a certain situation, the next time around he will not. It’s maddening. I’m not saying the Yost should act the same way every single time — of course he should adjust to the moment. But in the end, what do you stand for as a manager?

Back to the intentional walk. Yost ordered Danny Duffy to intentionally walk Robinson Cano in Kansas City’s 1-0 loss to Seattle Thursday night. Let’s put it into the IWRS formula.

Question 1: What inning was it in?

It was the third inning. Ugh. What American League situation could POSSIBLY call for an intentional walk in the third inning? So before we even get going, this is already a seven-point intentional walk, meaning it’s already an outrage.

Result: 7 points.

Question 2: Did the walk bring up the opposing pitcher or a particularly weak hitter?

No. It obviously did not bring up a pitcher, since it was an American League game, and it decidedly did not bring up a weak hitter. It brought up Corey Hart, who was the Mariners designated hitter and cleanup hitter, a guy with a career 115 OPS+ and a lifetime .297 batting average and .500 slugging percentage against lefties. The Royals pitcher, Danny Duffy, is a lefty.

Result: 3 points.
Total: 10 points.

Question 3: Did the walk give your team the platoon advantage or force the opposing manager to go to his bench?

No. Duffy walked Cano (a left-handed hitter who hits thirty points lower against lefties) to face Corey Hat (a righty who hits 30 points HIGHER against lefties).

Cano against lefties: .289/.340/.446
Hart against lefties: .297/.369/.518

My system — drawn up when I was a little bit calmer — only allows me to add three points to this decision. If not for that, I would add a million-billion-jillion-shmillion points.

Result: 3 points
Total: 13 points

Question 4: Does the extra baserunner matter?

Yes. The game was scoreless at the time and it was only the third inning. Cano’s run mattered a great deal.

Result: 3 points.
Total: 16 points

Question 5: Are you setting up the double play to get out of an inning?

No. There were two outs when the walk was ordered. Or, to put it another way. there were TWO BLEEPING OUTS WHEN THE INTENTIONAL WALK WAS ORDERED.

Result: 3 points
Total: 19 points

Question 6: Are you intentionally walking someone SOLELY to avoid a great hitter?

Yes. This walk was ordered for one reason and only one reason — to avoid Robinson Cano. In the third inning. With two outs. With a lefty on the mound. This is big one Elizabeth! I’m coming to join you!*

*This is a Sanford and Son reference. I normally do not identify silly pop culture references but I am growing more and more aware that I am well above the median age in America and that’s an old show.

Result: 4 points
Final total: 23 points.

It’s almost the perfect intentional walk, “perfect” meaning “most detestable walk possible.” If Yost had ordered this atrocity in the first inning, it would have been perfect.

This walk was so atrocious that it forced Danny Duffy, a promising young pitcher, to spew nonsense after the game. What’s he going to say? “My manager is a looney bird — i mean walking Cano in the third inning? Really? Am I that bad a pitcher? But, hey, I’m too young and inexperienced to overrule him.”

No, he’s not going to say that. Instead, he’s going to say, “Cano’s a great hitter. You don’t want to let him beat you.” He has to say that. I commend him for saying that. You say what you have to say to back up your manager. But he has to know that those words are entirely nonsensical. If Cano can “beat you” in the third inning of a scoreless game then, basically, you should never pitch to him. Ever.

But, like I say, Duffy basically HAD to say that. Yost, on the other hand, spewed absurdities on his own.

“I think (Cano) is one of the top hitters in the American League. You take your chances with Corey Hart, even though he’s a good hitter too.”

No. You don’t. You absolutely don’t. You absolutely trust your young left-handed pitcher to get Cano out in the stinking third inning. You absolutely don’t put your young left-handed pitcher in a platoon disadvantage with an extra runner on the base in a tie game.

But the craziest thing of all: If this situation came up next week, there’s every chance that Yost WOULD NOT walk Cano. His gut might sing a different song.

By the way, in the ninth inning of this same game, Yost ordered a horrendous sacrifice bunt attempt with a man on first and the Royals down a run. There’s an age-old axiom in baseball that you play for the tie at home, play for the win on the road. I’m not sure that axiom makes a lot of sense either, but it goes without saying that Yost decided to play for the tie on the road because that’s how Ned Yost rolls. Today, anyway.

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65 Responses to The Intentional Walk Rage System

  1. Watching this game felt like a battle in who could outstupid the other team. The Royals could not touch Iwakuma. He had thrown 93 pitches through 8 and seemed to be getting better as the game went on. Seattle decided, though, to bring in Rodney who promptly walked his first batter on 4 pitches. Aoki then sacrificed on a 1-0 count. Rodney still had no control of his pitches and walked Hosmer on 5 pitches.
    Up to that point, Rodney had thrown 11 pitches, 10 balls and 1 giveaway out.
    I’m not a big baseball fan. Trying to be a Royals fan makes it even worse. Trying to be a Royals fan with Yost making decisions like last night is just impossible for me.

    • McKingford says:

      I imagine you noted McClendon pinch hitting, in the 7th inning, no less, for the sole purpose of having his pinch hitter sacrifice bunt?

    • KHAZAD says:

      @ John Hail-I threw a pillow at my TV when Yost did that. Oh, and @Mckingford – Yost has also used a “pinch bunter” on at least two past occasions.

      Watching him manage every day is really taxing. He leans towards bad small ball stuff, but as Joe mentioned, he also changes his mind like a girl picking out an outfit for their first date. People who think their “gut” knows something are delusional. If you are psychic, play the lottery and be done with it. “I just have a feeling…” like a really bad blackjack player.

      There was a study years ago when I was in school where they did an experiment with people and mice. In each case, there were 3 choices of “doors” behind one of which was a reward. (Food for the mice, money or a prize with the people) The mice outperformed the people over a period of time by a significant amount, because once they got the reward a couple of times at one door, they kept going back to it, and got the reward a third of the time. The people kept trying to find a pattern, or followed their gut and picked the wrong door much more aften.

  2. kpk says:

    big data project: calculate the IWRS score for every IBB ever issued. someone get Baseball Prospectus on this.

  3. darren says:

    Even better was Ned’s comment on the bunt:
    “I want Nori to get the bunt down,” Yost said. “Because I want to take a shot at tying it. My ‘pen was strong enough where I felt like I could go ahead and go for the tie. Some nights you don’t. Some nights you play for the win.”

  4. Gee Tee says:

    Question 7: Did you just bring in a reliever who’s now intentionally walking the first batter he faces?

    If no, add zero points. If yes, add 30 points.

    Question 8: Does the intentional walk load the bases with two outs?

    If no, add zero points. If yes, add 5 points.

    • Jaack says:

      Question 9: Is the batter Barry Bonds?

      If Yes, subtract 10 points. If no, add zero points.

      • hardy says:

        Similarly, if you’re Tim Lincecum, and you’re facing Paul Goldschmidt, if yes, negative ten points, and if you pitch to him, add 10 points.

      • Doug says:

        There needs to be a special codicil for the “intentionally walking a guy with the bases loaded” move – like shooting the moon in hearts.

    • McKingford says:

      Yes,I came here to say this one absolutely needs to be incorporated as well. If we’re talking about intentional walks set to a Rage scale, well, this is the one that sets me off. Once you load the bases, you’ve reduced your margin for error to zero. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen an IBB to load the bases only to see it followed by a non-intentional walk.

      • NevadaMark says:

        Look up game 3, ninth inning, 1962 playoff, Walter Alston…boy, talk about reducing your margin of error.

  5. Alex says:

    The Royals have 2 former managers (Dale Sveum and Don Wakamatsu) on staff but neither tells Yost its a bad move? Isn’t that their job? To advise the manager? I understand they weren’t very successful as big league managers, but you would think that they have enough baseball knowledge and experience, as a group, to avoid bonehead decisions.

  6. I guess Yost did not listen to the new Poscast.

  7. Ian says:

    I had to look it up but there was a runner on third when Cano was walked. Hart singled him in for the only run of the game.

    • Mark Daniel says:

      I know Joe doesn’t care about whether the strategy worked or not, but it’s interesting that in fact the strategy did NOT work in this instance.

  8. deviator77 says:

    With two outs and runners in scoring position, Miguel Cabrera has a slash of .417/.553/.791. What possible justification could a manager give to pitch to him in that situation?

    • deviator77 says:

      That’s from 2011-2013.

    • tomemos says:

      So more than half the time you pitch to him, on average, he won’t get a hit, but every time you walk him he gets on base.

    • McKingford says:

      Because situational hitting stats like that (hitting with RISP, late & close, etc) have generally been found to be non-replicable*. Miggy is an exceptional hitter, period. The fact that his slash stats with 2 outs and RISP are even more amazing is simply a product of randomness, not some demonstrable skill Miggy has at producing with 2 outs and RISP. So the analysis of whether or not to pitch to Miggy should be premised on his overall hitting ability, not a more localized focus on whether there were 2 outs and RISP.

      *Allen Craig was lauded last year as a beast with RISP – no wonder, since his line with RISP in 2013 was 454/500/638. This year, he’s hitting 200/222/240 with RISP.

    • Spencer says:


      Here’s a justification. It’s not likely he’ll continue that production going forward

  9. I’m glad you added some qualifications to this. But I think you overstate the detestability of SOME IWs. Walking the 8th place hitter to get to the pitcher, in an NL game, to get out of a jam (regardless of inning), to me, is entirely acceptable strategy. It’s a zero detestability move. I wouldn’t give it a “6” just because they did it in the third inning. Why would you ever choose to face an every day player with runners on base & the potential of a big inning, when you have an opportunity to, instead, face the opposing team’s pitcher & pretty easily get out of the inning? Other than that, I’m totally with you. IWs, just like all Walks, come back to bite you. Just not very often when the IW gets you to the pitcher & the opportunity to end the inning.

    • Bill Caffrey says:

      I think it depends on the level of the jam. After all, the 8th place hitter, though a regular, is the presumptive worst hitter in the lineup among the regulars. If the “jam” is 2 outs and a man on second, and you have a 2-run lead in the 4th inning, just get the 8th place hitter out, ffs. Don’t give away the advantage of having the pitcher lead off the following inning.

      • Agreed, and it does depend on the 8th place hitter. Some are decent hitters, others, especially a utility player who found his way into the lineup might also be an easy out. Up two runs in the third with a runner on second with the chance of an almost automatic out…. I’m generally OK with an IW in that situation. I’m actually sometimes less OK with the IW strategies employed later in the game. How many times does a Mgr walk a guy, bring in the sinker ball pitcher, who then yields two singles and three runs, or more.

        • uuddlrlrbastart says:

          I’m kind of surprised at Question number 2. I don’t rage at intentional walks like Joe, but I HATE when the 8th hitter is walked. The Mets this year have been intentionally walked 8 times, their eighth hitter, Ruben Tejada has five of them. He is hitting .183/.302/.207 (and obviously that OBP is artificially inflated), but teams keep walking him. It just doesn’t make sense. By that logic, you should first walk the 7th hitter to get to Tejada since he’s such a weak hitter, but that never happens. Teams are just so afraid of the idea of the 8th hitter lucking into a big hit.

          • Speaking of the Mets, in 1970 Bud Harrelson walked 95 times, even though he hit .243 and slugged .309. Hitting in front of the pitcher turns every hitter into a potential Barry Bonds. It’s one of the reasons I think OBP is over-rated, since the batter hitting behind you has a lot to do with how you’re pitched.

  10. Blake says:

    Joe: I looked away from this post and glanced sideways back at it, and this is what I thought I saw:

    Yost “boned a different rubble.”

    Just thought that image might make you feel better. Or not?

  11. Alex says:

    I looked up some specific 25-point intentional walks (1st inning, 2 out, pitcher and batter same handedness, all four pitches intentional, non-eighth-place hitter) and the results are pretty interesting. Since 2000 there have been 19 of these. You might guess that Barry Bonds had more of these than any other but you’d be wrong! He only had two. Far and away the leader here is Vladimir Guerrero, who had SIX of the nineteen (five with Anaheim, one with Montreal). And which pitcher has *issued* more of these that anyone else since 2000? Would you believe Greg Maddux with two: once to Vlad on July 4, 2000 and once to Ramon Castro (?!) on September 13, 2002. I guess the latter isn’t really a 25-pointer since it’s RAMON FREAKING CASTRO but still.

  12. fivetwentyone says:

    I was thinking the same thing. using retrosheet I computed it for 1961-2011. here are the results,

    I do not currently work for baseball prospectus, but if they were smart they would hire me 😉

  13. Jacob says:

    Why is the IBB any LESS competitive or cowardly than punting out of bounds, taking a knee in the end zone, throwing out of bounds to avoid a sack, clocking the ball, taking a knee to run out the clock, fouling to stop the clock, intentionally leaving a terrible shooter wide open, intentionally missing a FT, fouling up 3 with under 5 seconds left, “hugging” in boxing, playing keep away (passing to your own goalie??) in soccer or hockey when up 2-0 late, etc.?

    • The issue with IWs isn’t so much the cowardice, but the fact that the cowardice has caused an irrational decision to give the opposing team a free base…. And an opportunity to score. Punting out of bounds is close, because you’re giving up 10-15 yards to avoid the possibility of a big play. That makes it easier for the other team to score. Most of the other strategies you mention may be cowardly, but they are also strategies that help win games.

  14. McKingford says:

    Joe, I imagine you have a corollary rage scale for bunting? If not, I’m counting on you to devise one.

    From last night’s very same game, McClendon inserted a pinch hitter, *in the 7th inning* for the sole purpose of sacrificing a runner on first to second. Oh, and this left it up to his 8th and 9th hitters. Brad Miller, the 8th hitter is currently slashing 173/229/291.

    To repeat, McClendon used one of his precious few bench players to make a deliberate out. And although it was a close game (1-0), there were still 2.5 innings left to play – almost 1/3 of the game…just so he could then bring up his 8th hitter whose OPS is barely over 500.

    I don’t even…

  15. fivetwentyone says:

    I had a bug in my code in computing criterion number 6. I fixed it and updated the spreadsheet,

    I find 106 25 point IBBs

  16. fivetwentyone says:

    those 106 are

    barry bonds 30
    mccovey 6
    vlad, pujols 5
    stargell 4
    mcgwire 3
    aaron, jeff burroghs, orlando cepeda, delgado, f. howard, killebrew, mcgriff, dale murphy, olerud, manny, frank robinson, danny tartabull, f thomas (the latter) 2

  17. Patrick Bohn says:

    You’re oversimplifying things if you say a runner added via intentional walk is “meaningless” in the 9th inning of a tied game with a runner on third. The run the runner represents does not matter, but the runner does. If the pitcher unintentionally walks the next two hitters, (as unlikely as that may be) it forces in a run. I’ve seen this happen more when there are runners on 2nd and 3rd, when the walk is made to load the bases, but regardless of the situation, adding baserunners is never meaningless. Ultimately, it may be the right move, but it isn’t “meaningless” to put a runner on base in any situation.

  18. Ethan says:

    A thing I like about the intentional walk is when the camera shows the determined glare of the guy in the on-deck circle, waiting for the chance to repay the insult.

    • tosmolskis says:

      In a game early this season, the Marlins, who were in the process of choking away a huge lead vs. the Nationals, walked Anthony Rendon to load the bases to get to Jayson Wirth. I commented on the look on Wirth’s face to my friend (‘You walked Rendon to get to ME? Watch this, punk!”) moments before he hit a massive game-winning grand slam. My best moment this season so far…

  19. Mark Daniel says:

    Question 3 brings up a good point – the response of the opposing manager. Some intentional walks prompt a sac bunt by the next hitter. How do you score that? That seems like a net positive for the pitching team.
    But what happens if an IBB leads to a sac bunt, which in turn leads the manager to call for another IBB. You may need to call in a statistician for this, because we’re no longer talking about independent events.

  20. Brad says:

    Yost makes so many idiotic decisions that he needs his own scoring system. I watched about 100 Royals games in the summer of 2013 (yeah, I know, a sad life) and I can recall without much thought about six games that Yost blew with questionable decisions. That also happened to be about the same spread that Cleveland edged out the Royals for the wildcard. There’s some old sayings in baseball that still hold true: walked batters almost always score. Throw strikes. Don’t run yourself out of an inning. Don’t help the pitcher by swinging at balls. Managers don’t will a lot of games, but they sure as he’ll lose quite a few. The Royals violate nearly all of these cardinal rules on a nightly basis.

  21. I guess we have to wait another week for that Top 100 thing that was supposed to be done in March. In that Joe promised like 10 more this week and delivered zero, why don’t we just call it a day? If Joe’s not into it anymore, what’s the point?

  22. Michael Green says:

    Anybody remember Barry Bonds? I know baseball is trying to forget him, but did anybody get more intentional and unintentional intentional walks (don’t give him anything good to hit)?

    Now to the greatest intentional walk story. Walter Alston told Don Drysdale to walk a batter. John Roseboro started to get out of his crouch and Big D signaled him to get back down. Oh, Rosey thought, he wants to pitch to him, and the pitcher is the boss, supposedly. Roseboro ran through the signs and Drysdale shook off each one. Finally, it hit him. He called for the knockdown. Drysdale nodded and hit the guy with the pitch (it may have been Frank Robinson). Alston came barreling out and Drysdale said, “Why waste four pitches?”

    • Drysdale definitely had a mean streak a mile wide. He did radio for the Angels for a while, and I distinctly remember his evil sounding cackle whenever an Angel pitcher chose to brushback an opposing player. It had nothing to do with any strategy of pitching inside or backing guys off the plate. He just thoroughly enjoyed intimidating hitters. He wanted to be feared…. And he was. What could you do, rush the mound? I don’t think anyone was that stupid. I think Drysdale, Gibson and Randy Johnson were probably the most feared pitchers. I’d say Pedro, but if a 70 year old bench coach is willing to take you on, then you can’t be THAT intimidating.

  23. […] out-based results tend to support “Question 5″ of Joe Posnanski’s Intentional Walk Rage System. Again, it’s a small sample, and flipping a few of the worst outcomes would paint a […]

  24. snowmonkey says:

    last night on MLB, Mitch Williams suggested that Darvish should have walked Ortiz in the ninth to preserve the no-hitter, since he had already lost the perfect game. Pretty sure that would peg the needle on the IWRS.

  25. […] The Intentional Walk Rage System (Joe Posnanski) – Like many fans these days, Posnanski is not a fan of the intentional walk. Sure, it has its time and place, but it is far overused. He’s come up with a scoring system to determine just how egregious a free pass is. […]

  26. […] The Intentional Walk Rage System (Joe Posnanski) – Like many fans these days, Posnanski is not a fan of the intentional walk. Sure, it has its time and place, but it is far overused. He’s come up with a scoring system to determine just how egregious a free pass is. […]

  27. Grzegorz Brzeszczyszczykiewicz says:

    I still believe the intentional walk would be a different adventure if the rule on the catcher leaving the catcher’s box were enforced. Try is sometime. It’s not as easy as one would think. I posted this comment months ago, but it was my own opinion. I just now happened upon an article from August 2013 in the Bleacher Report that raises the issue.

    I was not aware there was a history to this.

    OK, so the rule isn’t currently enforced. But why have the rule? Or why not amend the rule so that it reflects reality: “The catcher shall not leave the catcher’s box before the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, except on an intentional walk.”

    I know this is an article about baseball, but Joe likes tennis, so I want to refer to tennis. Back in the Australian Open this year, after Nadal beat Federer again, Federer was frustrated at how the rules are not enforced on how long Nadal takes between serves. Federer said something like, that it wouldn’t have changed the outcome and it doesn’t bother him necessarily, but why have a rule if it’s not enforced? Just take the rule out of the book and let Nadal take as long as he wants. I agree: Not enforcing the rules or enforcing them arbitrarily makes a mockery of the rules.

    Back to baseball.

    I no longer watch much baseball, but now with instant replay, I understand that managers can now challenge the ol’ in the neighborhood of second base on a double play.

    Which brings me to my next point. Surely no self-respecting manager that observes the unwritten rules of baseball would ever do this. But what about the renegade manager? Now that there is instant replay, what would prohibit a manager from challenging a balk on an intentional walk during a key moment of a game (other than perhaps a balk not being a reviewable play at the moment; I haven’t checked that)? In the tradition of Billy Martin and the pine tar bat? Game 7 of the World Series, bottom on the ninth, two out, runners at second and third in a tie game, the pitcher goes to load the bases with an intentional walk. But wait, on the first pitch, the catcher left the catcher’s box before the ball left the pitcher’s hand! The manager points it out the umpires and they have to review the play. Balk. Game over. What would the umpires say? Yes, that is the rule, but it is one that we do not enforce?

  28. Chris says:

    Ron Washington intentionally walked David Ortiz in the first today. It set up a possible inning ending double play so avoided a 25. Still idiotic though.

  29. Chris says:

    I dug a bit deeper. What is even more astonishing about Washington’s decision to walk Ortiz in the first was that of the other 3 games in the AL this year where there has been an intentional walk in the first inning, they’ve all involved walking a Ranger (Fielder twice and Kouzmanoff once) and not once did the move work – the Rangers scored in every instance. Yet, Washington does it to Ortiz and, not suprisingly, it bites him.

  30. joe schultz says:

    in addition to the obvious numbers, early part of the game, lefty vs rh, etc, was that Cano looked terrible in his first AB vs Duffy while Hart scorched a rocket. So even if you go with subjective feel, it was pretty dumb!

  31. KB says:

    Joe, I disagree. While this was very nearly a perfect IWR, the example you cited making it perfect is just short of perfect also. A totally perfect IWR, or what I like to refer to as the Barry Bonds walk, is to do it with nobody out and nobody on. Can’t say it’s in the first inning because Canoe isn’t a leadoff hitter. But if he were, then I’d give you the first inning modifier as well.

  32. […] strategy remains overused and can be maddening. So much so that last week Joe Posnanski created the Intentional Walk Rage Scale (IWRS). I think this system is great. Apparently, so did Ron Washington, as a mere few days after its […]

  33. Wikes says:

    How would you grade last night when Orioles intentionally walked Mark Reynolds with 2 outs in bottom of 10th inning and no one on base to face pitcher? Reynolds is a career .230 hitter that can hit home runs occasionally, but he is no Barry Bonds! Orioles do not play in NL so I am sure, but it did not seem right to me. Pitcher ends up driving ball to gap and run scores, game over. I think personally you face a .230 hitter so if he gets out, pitcher leads off in bottom of the 11th (Brewers used up all of their bench players so a pitcher would have to bat).

  34. […] Enter Joe Posnanski’s Intentional Walk Rage System. […]

  35. […] writing that, but again, Fangraphs agrees: the Indians WE dropped .4% when Lindor went to first. Joe Posnanski’s IWRS rates it fairly well, scoring it as a either a one or a four depending on your feelings about Mike […]

  36. […] writing that, but again, Fangraphs agrees: the Indians WE dropped .4% when Lindor went to first. Joe Posnanski’s IWRS rates it fairly well, scoring it as a either a one or a four depending on your feelings about Mike […]

  37. […] writing that, but again, Fangraphs agrees: the Indians WE dropped .4% when Lindor went to first. Joe Posnanski’s IWRS rates it fairly well, scoring it as a either a one or a four depending on your feelings about Mike […]

  38. […] writing that, but again, Fangraphs agrees: the Indians WE dropped .4% when Lindor went to first. Joe Posnanski’s IWRS rates it fairly well, scoring it as a either a one or a four depending on your feelings about Mike […]

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