Last night, trailing 8-7 in the top of the 8th, the Royals faced a tough situation: man on second, two outs, notorious singles-machine Ichiro! at the plate.
Buddy Bell elected to intentionally walk Ichiro, fearful of a two-out dribbler which would make it a 9-7 game. In a way, it was a reverse bunt kind of play, it sought to avoid a one-run inning at the expense of risking a bigger inning (whereas a bunt seeks out one run and punts a bigger inning).
What made it weird was that the formerly famous and fearsome Adrian Beltre was on deck, the same guy who had hit a 2-run the inning before. Well, Beltre walked himself to load the bases, which was followed by a Blanco error which allowed that dreaded 9th run to score anyway. So did Bell's gambit work? Was it worth it? As always, its hard to say. Personally, I think intentionally walking a singles hitter is fairly pointless, unless you're interested in setting up a force play or the guy on deck is truly awful. Lord knows what Beltre's level of performance these days is...
Tonight, its game three of this magical series as All-Star Mark Redman (9-9, 5.40 ERA) against Joel Pineiro, in his 20th year as a Mariner. Redman needs to show some pride tonight, he's currently third on the team in Ks, despite a huge innings advantage:
Royal Team Leaders in Strikeouts:
1) Jimmy Gobble: 74 (79.0 innings)
2) Ambiorix Burgos: 69 (68.2 innings)
3) Mark Redman: 68 (150 innings)
Show some heart, All-Star.