Congratulations to Jason Kubel. Tuesday night was the first time he had ever been intentionally walked two times in a single game. It was probably also the first time that any team had intentionally walked a guy hitting .224 twice in one game.
And not surprisingly, it didn’t work out well for the Orioles.
Here was the scenario. With runners on second and third and one out, the Birds decided to hand Kubel the free pass in hopes of inducing an inning ending double play. Instead, the next batter, Yan Gomes, belted a two-run double. Who knows if Kubel would have done the same? Obviously, it’s easy to criticize the Orioles’ decision after the fact.
The Orioles would go on to lose 4-3. The difference between winning and losing was Gomes’ at-bat in the sixth.
This isn’t the first time the Orioles have been burned by at intentional walk. Hope aboard the BSR time machine and let’s travel back to the faraway date of Wednesday August 28 against the Red Sox. With the game tied at three, Buck Showalter turned to Tommy Hunter to replace Brian Matusz with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Hunter struck out Mike Napoli, then surrendered a double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Then the O’s decided to intentionally walk Stephen Drew, who was hitting .247 at the time, in hopes of getting a force out at any base. Smart baseball move? No sir. The next batter, Mike Carp, singled to left field and drove in the go-ahead run. O’s lose 4-3.
Why not have Hunter just pitch to the guy that was hitting .247? Roll the dice, take your chances. Show some faith in the pitcher. What’s not to like about that matchup?
The over-thinking intentional walk burned the Orioles in Boston and it burned them on Tuesday in Cleveland.