Houston played their first extra-inning game last night, but lost it in the 14th after issuing back-to-back IBB’s.
At first glance, intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera & Prince Fielder, seems smart when there’s a runner on 3rd with 1 out and you’re in the 14th inning.
At second glance tho, it doesn’t seem like “That’s a smart move“. See, Fielder’s in a slump since April 15th, hitting .204/.328/.389 with 18 strikeouts, 3 HR, 1 2B, and 4 GDP. To put it another way, he’s got as many extra-base hits as grounded into double plays.
But instead of trying to make Fielder beat himself, which he’s been doing very well, the Astros intentionally walk him. INTENTIONALLY. They don’t even try to see if he’ll swing at pitches he shouldn’t.
If they had gotten him out, the Tigers would only have runners at the corners with 2 outs. Even if Fielder had hit a sac fly, Jackson would’ve still scored from third to put the Tigers up a run, but going into the bottom of the 14th down by 1 run would be a lot more doable than being down by 4. Oh, and that’d be up by 1 with 2 outs and a man on first, which isn’t all that bad.
If the ‘stros had done a little homework before the game, they’d have noticed that Fielder would be the easier out compared to Don Kelly. Kelly’s been slugging about 50 points higher than Fielder and doesn’t hit into double plays or strike out much. He was really the tougher out when Houston needed an out, and one that wasn’t a sac fly.
True to the stats, Kelly slapped a ball through the defense to score the go-ahead run and keep the bases loaded with only 1 out. Detroit ends up winning by 4 runs, with much thanks to a pair of intentional walks.