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Thread: Would you ever intentionally walk in the tying run?

  1. #1
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    Would you ever intentionally walk in the tying run?

    Here's the situation. It's a pretty important game, and your team is up by one run (let's just say it's 5-4) and it's an away game. There are two outs, and it's the 9th inning. However, the bases are loaded, and Barry Bonds is up, in all his 2001-2004 glory. Up after him is a mediocre batter, and the SF Giants have no great hitters on the bench. Do you walk Barry Bonds, and hope for the best next inning? I think I do.

  2. #2
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    Pitch to him.

    Babe Ruth is dead.

    (remember those t-shirts pitchers used to wear?)

    "Throw Strikes, Babe Ruth is Dead"

  3. #3
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    I'd pitch to him, since even during his best season he made an out about 62% of the time (when he wasn't walked). Plus, the mediocre next hitter still probably gets on base 30% of the time.

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    No way in the world Bonds gets that free pass. The manager would be roasted by his players, the press, hometown fans and club administrators - especially if he ended up losing.

    If he has such disrespect for his men than perhaps the team should have a different manager. If the manager can't handle the heat than perhaps he would be better off in a different profession.

    If you're going to get beat, you should get beat on the field, not give it away.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ipitch View Post
    I'd pitch to him, since even during his best season he made an out about 62% of the time (when he wasn't walked). Plus, the mediocre next hitter still probably gets on base 30% of the time.
    Bonds in '04 had a stunning .609 OBP, so he had about a 61% chance of getting on base anyway. Why not just minimize the ammount of runs that come in with a walk? You can't pitch him over the plate, he'll crush it. And forget about him chasing a pitch. I dunno, this is a tough, tough call.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian McKenna View Post
    No way in the world Bonds gets that free pass. The manager would be roasted by his players, the press, hometown fans and club administrators - especially if he ended up losing.

    If he has such disrespect for his men than perhaps the team should have a different manager. If the manager can't handle the heat than perhaps he would be better off in a different profession.

    If you're going to get beat, you should get beat on the field, not give it away.
    So what would you do, unintentially walk him? Or give him pitches to hit?

    IMO, the manager would be a realist. Kind of like those people who say they would fight anyone, even if they lose. Why fight a Mike Tyson, Chuck Ladell, Tino Ortiz, or Bruce Lee? Since you can't win, back down from the fight like a little girl, or run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by White Knight View Post
    So what would you do, unintentially walk him? Or give him pitches to hit?

    IMO, the manager would be a realist. Kind of like those people who say they would fight anyone, even if they lose. Why fight a Mike Tyson, Chuck Ladell, Tino Ortiz, or Bruce Lee? Since you can't win, back down from the fight like a little girl, or run.
    Then why show up? If you aren't going to fight to win, then why play?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDD View Post
    Then why show up? If you aren't going to fight to win, then why play?
    The team is playing to win, that's why they should walk him, get the next batter out, and score in the top of the 10th. He has a 61% chance of getting on anyway.

  9. #9
    A couple of things:

    1. I'll treat Bonds' 2004 stats as his real ability for the sake of argument, but that doesn't make it so. His true OBA talent level was almost certainly lower than .609.

    2. The .609 includes intentional walks, and you need to take those out. That some other manager chose to walk him intentionally has no bearing on what you should do.

    3. Even if .609 was his true OBA, a 61% chance of getting on base leaves a 39% chance that he will make an out and you will win the game.

    4. So, to put it all together, in PAs where Bonds was not intentionally walked, he got on base 41.5% of the time (this may understate his impact because some of the IW occur after an attempt to pitch around him fails, you fall behind 2-0 and say the heck with it, etc.) Your strategy would take a situation in which you have an ~60% chance of winning and turn it into one in which you have an approximately 67% chance of losing(*). Why on earth would you want to do this? A batter would have to have a real on base ability of .670 to make this a (possibly) breakeven decision.

    The reason why Bonds was intentionally walked so often is that opposing managers feared his power. But in your scenario, you don't care about power. Any on base event ties the game, and most hits win the game. If he hits a grand slam, so what? It's no worse than if he had hit a double or most singles.

    The much more interesting question is whether you should walk him intentionally to force in a run in a case in which you do not surrender the lead. That at least is not absurd on its face.

    (*) You can obviously get a lot more involved than this, but I just assumed that the next batter had a 33% of reaching base and thus ending the game, and that the probability of winning in extra innings was 50%. So:

    .33*(1) + (1-.33)*.5 = .665
    Last edited by Patriot; 06-29-2008 at 03:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by White Knight View Post
    The team is playing to win, that's why they should walk him, get the next batter out, and score in the top of the 10th. He has a 61% chance of getting on anyway.
    Which would be lost first, the game, the respect of your players, or your job as manager?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot View Post
    A couple of things:

    1. I'll treat Bonds' 2004 stats as his real ability for the sake of argument, but that doesn't make it so. His true OBA talent level was almost certainly lower than .609.

    2. The .609 includes intentional walks, and you need to take those out. That some other manager chose to walk him intentionally has no bearing on what you should do.

    3. Even if .609 was his true OBA, a 61% chance of getting on base leaves a 39% chance that he will make an out and you will win the game.

    4. So, to put it all together, in PAs where Bonds was not intentionally walked, he got on base 41.5% of the time (this may understate his impact because some of the IW occur after an attempt to pitch around him fails, you fall behind 2-0 and say the heck with it, etc.) Your strategy would take a situation in which you have an ~60% chance of winning and turn it into one in which you have an approximately 67% chance of losing(*). Why on earth would you want to do this? A batter would have to have a real on base ability of .670 to make this a (possibly) breakeven decision.

    The reason why Bonds was intentionally walked so often is that opposing managers feared his power. But in your scenario, you don't care about power. Any on base event ties the game, and most hits win the game. If he hits a grand slam, so what? It's no worse than if he had hit a double or most singles.

    The much more interesting question is whether you should walk him intentionally to force in a run in a case in which you do not surrender the lead. That at least is not absurd on its face.

    (*) You can obviously get a lot more involved than this, but I just assumed that the next batter had a 33% of reaching base and thus ending the game, and that the probability of winning in extra innings was 50%. So:

    .33*(1) + (1-.33)*.5 = .665
    Increasing your advantage, Bonds' true OBP against southpaws was .393 (after adjusting for IBB) and the man batted .091 with no extra base hits all year in 0-2 counts. So getting your hardest throwing left-hander on the mound to challenge Bonds and throw strikes would go a long ways towards increasing your odds of winning the at bat.

    You're faced, before the decision, with two outcomes. Either Bonds makes an out or Bonds reaches. If Bonds makes an out, the game is over. If Bonds reaches, the game is tied with the possibility of a loss. When you've got a 60% chance of ending the game right then and there, you take it. You don't eliminate your chance to win the game that inning in order to minimize your chance to lose. That's counter intuitive.
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  12. #12
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    Two of the numbers I like to look at to demonstrate an offensive players production are AB/R and AB/RBI. In the years mentioned 2001-2004 for Bonds, his numbers were 3.4 AB/R and 3.8 AB/RBI. Looking at that and considering the average HoFer can usually average 5-6 AB/R and/or RBI I would put Bonds on.

    That said I would not IBB him I would HBP him, but I am OLDE SCHOOL!

  13. #13
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    Let's figure the odds here.

    When pitched to, Bonds gets on base at about a .380 clip so it's 38% that he drives in the tying run at least...about 30% that he wins the game...but that's 62% that he fails to produce and you win...Odds are still in your favor. I pitch to Bonds.

    If youw alk him, it's 0% to win that inning, and at least 30% to lose on the next batter even if he's mediocre.

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    brian mckenna: No way in the world Bonds gets that free pass. The manager would be roasted by his players, the press, hometown fans and club administrators - especially if he ended up losing.

    If he has such disrespect for his men than perhaps the team should have a different manager. If the manager can't handle the heat than perhaps he would be better off in a different profession.


    the answer to your unasked question: larry dierker.
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    Quote Originally Posted by White Knight View Post
    Here's the situation. It's a pretty important game, and your team is up by one run (let's just say it's 5-4) and it's an away game. There are two outs, and it's the 9th inning. However, the bases are loaded, and Barry Bonds is up, in all his 2001-2004 glory. Up after him is a mediocre batter, and the SF Giants have no great hitters on the bench. Do you walk Barry Bonds, and hope for the best next inning? I think I do.
    I think there are a few select hitters throughout history (Bonds in his prime, Ruth, Gehrig, Williams) where it would be wise to allow the game to be tied and take your chances with the next guy. But there are so many factors to consider. Who's pitching? How many outs? If there are two, as your question originally asks, you may be tempted to go after the hitter to get the final out. I'm not a big proponent of intentional walks, but I do think you can create a situation where it would be advisable. Ideally, you could have your pitcher throw a couple in the dirt early in the count, hoping to get lucky and get ahead 0-1, 1-2, or 0-2. If he doesn't offer at the junk, and the count runs to 2-0, then the intentional walk may be the right play.
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    Have you made any changes to your metric? There is a thread here asking your reaction to your method of subtracing outs from bases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDD View Post
    Have you made any changes to your metric? There is a thread here asking your reaction to your method of subtracing outs from bases.
    Thanks for asking, but no changes have been made. The reason I subtract CS totals from bases is that I needed a way to penalize baserunners who get "points" from SB. This is especially true for Henderson, Cobb, Raines, etc.
    Visit www.statonebaseball.com to learn why traditional statistics are ultimately flawed...and why P/E Averages are not!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stat One Author View Post
    Thanks for asking, but no changes have been made. The reason I subtract CS totals from bases is that I needed a way to penalize baserunners who get "points" from SB. This is especially true for Henderson, Cobb, Raines, etc.
    But a SB is not as valuable as a CS is negative. But why do we bother?
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  19. #19
    WALK HIM:
    Assuming a below-average hitter next with a .300 OBP, you've got a 30% chance of losing the game immediately and a 50% chance of winning in later innings. The other 70% of the time, you've got a 50% chance of winning in later innings.

    chance of winning = .7*.5 = 35%
    chance of losing = .3 + .7*.5 = 65%

    DON'T WALK HIM
    In 2004, when Bonds wasn't intentionally walked, he did this...
    OUT: 50%
    BB: 23%
    1B: 12%
    2B/3B: 6%
    HR: 9%

    If Bonds makes an out, you win 100% of the time. With a walk, it's the same as the scenario above. With any hit, let's assume two runs score and you lose -- that happens 27% of the time.

    chance of winning = .5*1 + .23*.35 + (.12+.06+.09)*0 = 58%
    chance of losing = .5*0 + .23*.65 + (.12+.06+.09)*1 = 42%

    So, would you rather win 35% of the time or 58% of the time? It's not even a close decision, and we're talking about one of the best performances of all time.

    What's really amazing here is how good Bonds is. Even up a run with two outs (and the bases loaded), you "only" win 58% of the time. Against a non-Bonds hitter, it's more like 70%.

  20. #20
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    Thanks Sky...I was too lazy to look up the exact percentages.

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