Perhaps the Rangers had no choice in that situation. They had to pitch to Albert Pujols. I know, the usual procedure would be to issue an intentional pass—but when the next batter is just as much of a powerhouse, if not more, what are you going to do? You’ve already jumped from the frying pan into the fire by loading the bases. So what did the Rangers do? They went to their bullpen—again—instead of just going out to the mound and telling the pitcher that here was a situation where he had to really bear down, pit his strength against the batter’s strength.
I faced situations like that in my playing days, especially when I had to come into the game in relief. I will never forget the first occasion I had to try out my newly acquired slider. Situation: top of the seventh inning, the opposing team had the bases loaded and only one out, our lead had been cut to 6-4, and our starting pitcher was forced to leave the game because of a nasty blister on his pitching hand. So I came into the game, took the ball, told the guy that I would get out of this jam, and faced a pinch-hitter who would stay in the game and play second base. I signaled to the catcher to call for just that slider—I wanted to see how it would work. I got the batter on three of them, and what was funny was that that pinch-hitter never moved—he just stood there with the bat on his shoulder and went “duh” with the stupidest expression on his face. The next batter was the opposing team’s leadoff man who would go after the first pitch no matter what it was or where it was. Well, I got him on four pitches, the last one being a crossfire slider, and that guy swung so hard he lost his balance and fell over on his tush with his arms and legs up in the air like some overturned bug. Side retired, and we got out of the inning.
My guess is that the Rangers need to pay more attention to what we call strategic pitching. Some may call it stupidity, and they may have a point—I would call it just plain being unprepared. If they got out of that tight spot they were lucky. 8) :baseballpitcher: .