Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 1, 2006
BASEBALL: Pick Your Poison

So, if you think teams shouldn't pitch to Barry Bonds with the game on the line, why are they still pitching to David Ortiz with the game on the line?

(And, for that matter - if you think teams shouldn't pitch to Barry Bonds at all, why are they still pitching to Albert Pujols at all?)

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:26 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)

I'd have the same attitude about Pujols that I have about Bonds.

It depends on the situation of course. Early in the game, nobody on base, sure go ahead pitch to them. Late in the game with a one run lead and a guy on base? Jeez man I wouldn't throw anything near the plate. What's the point, ego?

I just think a smart manager that's managing to win pitches around guys like that when he has the choice. Make someone else beat you.

Posted by: Dwilkers at May 2, 2006 8:42 AM

I probably have the batting order wrong, but isn't it Ortiz then Manny? Ortiz will probably hurt you, Manny you know will. So it's just a matter of arsenic or cyanide. Maris reached 61 becasue nobody with a cranium wanted a piece of Mantle.

Bonds at his chemical best though, was like no other non -mutated hitter ever, and the numbers bear that out. So I don't advocate treating Pujols more than very carefully. He is great, and locked in, so maybe the Stengle rules on Ted apply: walk him if any base is open the last 3 innings.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at May 2, 2006 10:26 AM

I just don't see Manny as much of a threat as Ortiz. His numbers are down and Ortiz is not much on the basepaths. It has become apparent that even the best lefties can't get Bonds/Ortiz out (Wagner last week, Meyers last night) so why even pitch to them at all. Pujols should see a strike either until Edmonds starts making them pay for putting him on base.

Posted by: Nate at May 2, 2006 10:33 AM

According to research done by a qualified person (i..e, my brother) an intentional walk only makes ense when there is an enormous disparity between the quality of the hitter you're thinking of walking and the hitter following. So if it's Bonds followed by Mario Mendoza, you walk Bonds. Not so if it's Bonds followed by Matt Williams, or Jeff Kent, or even JT Snow.

Posted by: John Salmon at May 2, 2006 11:08 AM

Makes sense, not "ense". Ense doesn't make sense.

Posted by: John Salmon at May 2, 2006 11:09 AM

Manny's every bit as dangerous as Ortiz, but for some reason, Ortiz just seems more dangerous...

Maybe it's Papi's vicious uppercut swing and crazy follow-through? Or the fact that Manny might beat you with a single or double, whereas Ortiz employs the moonshot...

Either way, I'm glad they are both on my team. Trading Manny would have been akin to trading half of Ortiz as well. Without Manny on deck, Ortiz never hits that home run.

Posted by: Mr Furious at May 2, 2006 11:36 AM

If Myers would have thrown a pitch inside early in the count, Ortiz might have hit that HR. Ortiz has said that he looks away against lefties. He's hanging out over the plate, looking away. If Myers 'pitch did what it was supposed to do, Ortiz probably lines it to left-center. He left it fat down the middle, and boom. Maybe neither one of those things happens if he straightens Ortiz up earlier in the count.

Posted by: seamus at May 2, 2006 12:22 PM

"Ortiz might not have hit that HR..." Apologies

Posted by: seamus at May 2, 2006 12:23 PM

Yup; Myers made a bad pitch. Usually a LHP gets that out.

A while back, Bill James used a rudimentary program like DiamondMind to calculate a team's W-L with Babe Ruth and 8 below-average players under two situations: (a) opponents pitching to Ruth, and (b) opponents intentionally walking Ruth. The impact was apparently pretty dramatic: Allowing Ruth as a baserunner everytime made his team much, much better.

As good as Ortiz, Bonds, Pujols, et al., are, nobody hits over .500 all season long, and nobody wins them all. Make your pitches, stay ahead on the count, and you'll get a lot of those outs.

Posted by: Jack Roy at May 2, 2006 1:47 PM

Does it simply come down to perception? In the whole MVP debate last year between Ortiz and A-Rod there were stats broken out about similar they were in late game, close ballgame situations. The perception though is that they are not. Even people who are not Sox fans came name some of Ortiz's huge, late-inning, close game/game winning hits. I cannot think of a game winning hit by A-Rod and I have seen him play in at least 40-50 games in his career. No one here is suggesting to walk A-Rod who has crazy stats. I would bet most managers would prefer to pitch to A-Rod than Sheffield, Jeter, Matsui or even Giambi. The perception is that A-Rod does little to nothing when things matter.

I agree with the posts that you would not walk Ortiz to pitch to Manny (especially last night in a one run game with one out and you would be loading the bases for the man with the second most grand slams in the history of baseball) unless the situation was extreme (no left-handed pitchers). Ortiz benefits more than anyone currently and maybe in the recent history of baseball by who hits behind him. That being said the man is extraordinary. The wind was blowing in at 15-20 mph last night and he hit it to nearly the deepest part of the park.

Posted by: jim at May 2, 2006 2:17 PM


Yeah, James wrote that up in one of books a few years ago (the New Historical Abstract, think, but it could've been the Win Shares book). I remember that Gino Cimoli was the cleanup hitter on the Babe IBB team. Drove in 150+ I think.

Posted by: Mike at May 2, 2006 2:47 PM

And the reason you might pitch to Pujols is that right behind him is scott Rolen and after him is Jum Edmonds. Neither is the threat that Pujols is, but you still don't want to pitch to them.

Posted by: maddirishman at May 2, 2006 3:25 PM

Albert Pujols is ahead of Joe Dimaggio's pace in many categories. In fact, He is ahead of everyone in homeruns, (201), the youngest ever to reach that number at age 27.

Posted by: Mark Catanzareti at May 16, 2006 5:24 PM
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