What did you think of the intentional walk?

Yanks youngster comes up Hughes
ALDS Game 4: Evening it up

I was surprised to read though the game comments from last night and find only one remark on Eric Wedge’s decision to intentionally walk Hideki Matsui in the sixth last night. I was further surprised to see no mention of it in a handful of Cleveland papers. So I’ll keep this brief, since most people either didn’t think it was important, or didn’t think it was a bad move.

With runners on second and third with one out and two lefties coming up, conventional strategy would dictate that you walk the first one and pitch to the second, with the hopes of him hitting into a double play. This is one area where I think conventional wisdom needs to be tossed out the window. Hideki Matsui hasn’t looked comfortable at the plate since early September. Yes, he was 2 for 2 at that point, and his second hit looked pretty. But walking him to get to Cano, in my opinion, was a terrible call, situation or not. Any of my friends watching the game with me can attest to my first-guessing of Wedge on that one.

I do like Eric Wedge, but he demonstrated a lack of critical thinking by walking Matsui; it was based entirely on a static situation: second and third, one out, down by two. You don’t want to play the infield in, because a flare would then be two runs. You don’t want to play back, because then a groundball or a long fly makes it a three-run game. But at some point, you have to consider the players involved. Cano has murdered lefties this year — .328/.374/.490 — and those numbers were surely inflated by bullpen arms like Fultz.

Anyone else feel strongly about this one way or another? I’m guessing not, but I really think the decision itself was an understated moment in the game.

Oh, and just for another talking point, here’s an excerpt from the AP game story:

Alex Rodriguez stopped his postseason hitless streak at 18 at-bats with a second-inning single and also beat out an infield single. But he remained in a 6-for-54 (.111) playoff funk with no RBIs dating to his Game 4 home run against Boston three years ago.

He could have gone 4 for 4 and he still would have had poor numbers in the long haul. Why the media continues to harp on A-Rod, even when he has a quality game, is beyond me. He went 2 for 4 and started the inning that blew the game open. Hopefully he can go 10 for 4 tonight and really break out of this slump.

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Yanks youngster comes up Hughes
ALDS Game 4: Evening it up
  • usty

    The A-Rod thing is ridiculous. Put Jeter/Matsui’s numbers up from the past few post-seasons too.

    Is it just me or are you more comfortable with Cano/Melky than Posada/Matsui hitting right now? I’d love to see Cano bumped up in the order to protect A-Rod, but Joe wouldn’t move anyone else down in the order. He only does that to the best 3b in the world in the playoffs.

  • Bart

    The media does not appear to me to be “smart” in any domain. ARod simply requires an a critical moment for media and the fans to go from the stupid negative soundbite – to the stupid posiitve soundbite. A “Times make the man” moment. Hopefully he wil be a Ynakee when the moment comes

    The walk — a toss up — with Matsui stroking the ball (finally) and his career stats against lefties in the manager’s notebook — it was at least a damned if I do and damned if I don’t moment

    More imporatnt is burning up JOBA with a 5 run lead — when you know Wanger is going on 3 days rest and Mussina out of the pen Monday could be a 5-4 game, an 11-10 game — or a 2-1 game — how likely is it that the Yankees get another 5 run lead. More likely you need a STOPPER early

    Probably the BS that if you get him warmed up youhave to use him — BS — no way is a 12 picthe warmup equal to two high stress innings

    Still he looks special in all respects

    I advocated starting Hughes – He would not have had Clemens (partially courtesy of Jeter – error not scored and hitting into two DPs) 3 run deficit–

    Gald he did so well – show shope for the next series – a START and for the next 15 years – he and damon co-player of the game –

    Damon reviled by many Yankee fans last year — may have turned this around — team looked a lot looser —

    Simply too much to expect the best pitcher of the generation to be stellar on no real work coming off a series of hurts/injuries — maybe hecanmake it for the 7 game series – even for a relief inning and go out in style

  • Rich

    There’s no way you can complain about Wedge. Everyone knows the only manager who makes mistakes is Torre and every other manager at every level is infallible.
    Only Torre makes mistakes.

    At least that’s how it usually reads on River Avenue Blues.

    FWIW, I thought it was weird to intentionally walk Matsui but Wedge hadn’t made a mistake until then so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

  • Motown Yankees Fan

    My husband and I couldn’t believe it when they walked Matsui. Made no sense to us. In the end, the result for the Yankees was great. Runs scored, Cano coming up big (I seem to remember his bases loaded numbers are not that great. What a great thing for his confidence level).

    Hughes was great, particularly since he pitched on Thursday night. And Alex is coming around. If we could only get Mr. Clutch Jeter to stop with the double plays.

    I hope they are able to call Kennedy up to take Roger’s place. Joba needs a break. He didn’t look his usual confident self on the mound last night (Maybe too much partying at Kennedy’s wedding?)

    And the A-Rod coverage is ridiculous. I’ll be in the bleachers tonight waiting for him to hit a home run to me…

  • http://www.pinstripealley.com John

    I think it was the right move. It sets up the double play. Even if they get Matsui out without the runner scoring, Cano gets to bat either way.
    The problem in the equation is Fultz, not Wedge.

  • Count Zero

    Hmmm…I didn’t find the IW egregious for two reasons:

    1) When you look up streak hitter in the dictionary, there’s Matsui’s picture. 2-2 on the night…looks like the start of a streak.

    2) As most Yankee fans intuitively realize, Cano with the bases loaded 2005-2007: .232/.246/.357 in 56 ABs. While that’s a fairly small sample, it would appear that there are logical reasons why Cano, who isn’t a situational hitter and doesn’t work counts at all (as covered here last week), is actually a poor bases loaded hitter.

    I could see it being played either way. I probably would have pitched to Matsui myself, but I think it’s a defensible move by Wedge.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    I didn’t have a problem with the move. Moves like that either work out perfectly or completely backfire, this one just happened to backfire.

    Like John said, the problem was Fultz, not Wedge.

  • Mike R.

    A-Rod is screwed with the press no matter what he does. He could go 10 for 4 to take your example and the headlines would read “Where was this in game two” and “Better late than never? We’ll see.”

  • steve (a different one)

    it’s also funny how they kept harping on what a great choice it was to start Trot Nixon against Clemens (although any Yankee fans with any sort of memory could have told you it was an easy decision), but kindof overlooked the huge error he made that may have cost Cleveland 2 runs with Posada running from 2B.

    2 RBI in the plus column, huge game-killing error in the minus column.

  • Bryan

    To be fair, I’ve barely paid attention to Wedge this playoff series, much less the regular season; but why do you like this guy? The three decisions I’m going to remember about him:
    1. Starting Paul Byrd
    2. Bunting Cleveland out of innings in the second game
    3. Leaving Nixon in the game after Clemens was gone

  • Count Zero

    Pete is reporting Villone is on the roster for tonight’s game. UGH!

    Let’s hope he collects splinters.