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Playing Maddon '06; Situations #s 3 & 4: Intentional Walks

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Recently, there has been a lot of squabbling within Rays fan circles about two particular incidents over the two game series against the New York Yankees. Since both are related, I have combined them into one post and will ask you for your call on both. Here they are........

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Situation #3: With runners on second and third and one out, Rays manager Joe Maddon goes to the bullpen to make a pitching change, bringing in Ruddy Lugo to replace Tyler Walker and face Alex Rodriguez with first base open.

Maddon's Play: Maddon elects not to intentionally walk A-Rod to get to Hideki Matsui. Rodriguez had been 0 for 3 on the night, and Matsui had  been 1 for 4.

The Result: Rodriguez promptly singles home Johnny Damon on a 2-1 pitch while Derek Jeter scoots up to third base. Hideki Matsui then singles to drive in Jeter to give New York a 4-2 lead.

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Situation #4: With runners on second and third and one out and Dan Miceli on the mound, Gary Sheffield strolls to the plate to face Miceli with first base open.

Maddon's Play: Maddon elects to use the intentional walk tonight, walking Gary Sheffield (who had singled the previous inning) to load the bases and get to Johnny Damon, who was 1 for 4 on the night before the at bat.

The Result: Damon promptly drives the 0-1 delivery from Miceli into the right field seats for a grand slam home run, turning a 6-5 ballgame into a 10-5 rout.

What would your play be? Would you have intentionally walked Rodriguez to get to Matsui with a force play at any base, or would you have done what Joe did and pitched to A-Rod? And would you have loaded the bases by walking Sheffield and getting to Damon, or would you have pitched to the Head Sheff? Try to make a call without invoking revisionist history.