Macha and Intentional Walks

Milwaukee Brewers manager Ken Macha (R) and coach Willie Randolph watch the Brewers beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1 in the ninth inning at Coors Field on June 20, 2010 in Denver.         UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

Having to get up at 4 AM during the week prevents me from being able to watch the ends of many extra-inning games.  Imagine my shock when I saw the final score to Monday’s game this morning after heading to bed with the Brewers up 4-3 after the top of the 8th.

Yes, John Axford is human after all, and he’s not going to nail down many one-run saves when he walks two guys.  That’s true of most closers.  Considering the wacky lineup and the fact that Chris Narveson was starting against one of the NL’s best offenses, I’m just glad that nobody else got hurt.  I can understand losing this game, especially when Trevor Hoffman was pitching in a high leverage situation.

What I can’t understand is this little tidbit from the box score:

Top of 10th
T Hoffman relieved J Axford
C Young grounded out to shortstop.
K Johnson doubled to deep left.
J Upton popped out to second.
M Montero intentionally walked.

Maybe this made more sense within the context of watching the game, but just to get this straight, with two outs, Ken Macha intentionally walked Miguel Montero?  After getting Justin Upton out?  If you’re going to give away the free base, why not walk Upton, the best hitter in that lineup?  Once you get two outs, why wouldn’t you abandon the idea of intentionally putting someone on?  You no longer need a double play to end the inning.  If it’s because of R/L match ups, why would you put all your eggs in the Mark Reynolds basket, knowing that lefty Stephen Drew is on deck and lefty Ryan Church is still available to pinch hit?  And based on Hoffman’s previous outings this season, why would you willingly prolong an inning when he only gets worse as the outing gets longer?

Obviously, this game didn’t mean much, and like I said, it’s a minor miracle no one else was hurt while playing out of position.  It doesn’t make Macha’s love for intentional walks any less frustrating.

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