Ed Lopat told me about an unusual situation where an intentional pass would be called for: with the bases empty. This is a strategic move he used on occasion when the next batter was known to be a weak hitter and therefore easier to pitch to. He would do this with one out so a double play could be set up.
Now, there are a few instances where you would NOT even think of the intentional base on balls. One is, of course, when the batter, reaching first base, is a definite threat to steal—a speed demon. And of course, you would not issue an intentional pass when the next hitter is—well, a hitter and then some. For example, you wouldn’t dare walk Derek Jeter with Granderson up next, and look who’s behind Granderson—Teixeira, A-Rod, Robbie Cano—you’re just going to have to pitch to all of them and hope to get one of them out.
I for one did not like to issue any kind of base on balls, intentional or otherwise. If anyone wanted to get on base against me, he had to earn it. There were times when I would be facing a dangerous hitter with one base empty—and I refused to walk the batter. I wanted to pitch to him. I wanted to challenge him, make him go after what I wanted him to hit, and if he hit nothing but air so much the better. One time Lopat and I were talking about what to do with a 3-0 count on the batter (which I usually inherited) bases loaded, one out late in the game, and I said no way, I am NOT going to walk that guy. I’d go for a 3-1 count, give the guy a pitch that he would have to foul off if not miss it altogether, and with a 3-1 count I’d have a little breathing room and could figure out how to send him back to the bench foaming at the mouth!
Strategic pitching 201. 8)