Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Walk-Off Walk

What do you do when your pitcher is having trouble finding the strike zone? Obviously, have him walk the bases loaded.

In the 11th inning of a game in which the Yankees were killed by the immortal Eduardo Perez, Scott Proctor takes the mound in the 11th inning with a man on 2nd and one out. Proctor first balks the runner--the speedy Carl Crawford--to third, 90 feet away from a win. However, Proctor settled down enough to induce a groundout from Jorge Cantu.

With Proctor facing Perez, he threw a curveball that stayed in his hand a bit too long, Jorge Posada was only barely able to block it and save the game. I think (but I'm not sure) that this curveball was Proctor's 1-1 offering to Perez. From that point on, Proctor didn't throw another strike. Clearly discombobulated, Proctor walked Perez, and then, with Aubry Huff at the plate, Torre called for four wide to load the bases for Jonny Gomes. For my money, Gomes is the best batter on this team, and he has a really good eye at the plate.

When I saw Torre call for the intentional walk, I was tempted to call Brother Joe in Cali to call a walk-off hit by pitch. You could see Proctor's control eroding as he threw the intentional walk--his four wide pitches were everywhere. Looking at Proctor's numbers against righties and lefties, it was a logical choice--Proctor's hard on righthanded batters, and allows a .600+ slugging percentage to lefthanded ones. Still, he wasn't throwing strikes, and having him intentionally issue a walk wasn't going to help him find the strike zone.

Four pitches to Gomes later, the game was over. Bad loss

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