ARLINGTON – Angels coach Joe Maddon has long been known for being funky throughout his 19-year career as a major league manager.
But he took it to an extreme Friday, deliberately choosing to walk to Texas hitter Corey Seeger with the bases loaded and one in the fourth inning to bring him home after the Rangers were already ahead.
Madon invited right-handed Austin Warren to deliberately walk with left-handed Seager hitting right-handed hitters Mitch Garver and Adulis Garcia. Rangers went on to score three runs as a result, but the Angels eventually came back with a 9-6 victory.
“I thought by walking with Seager I would avoid the big hit,” Madon said. “And just teasing the group, quite frankly. It’s not something you normally do. I thought going out there and doing something like that, the team might respond to something like that.”
Seager seemed confused by the decision, and so did Angels star Mike Trout when television cameras panned to him in the center of the field. Warren also said he was surprised by the decision, but trusted his manager.
Warren said, “It totally took me by surprise, but I’m not going to tell Joe Madon no. I trust Madon a lot and it worked.”
Tonight Seager entered his career .305/.380/.520 hitter against right-handers, which led to Maddon’s decision. But Warren had actually held left in the .461 OPS career compared to the .614 OPS against right-handers. Garver didn’t have huge splits either—he’s had a career of .821 OPS against the right and .863 OPS against the left—while García has had reverse splits in his career with .756 OPS against righties and .662 OPS against left.
The move backfired, with Garver hitting a deep drive into the right midfield for the sacrifice fly, while Warren refused with García on board to bring home another. She culminated in a five-round run that gave Texans the lead.
“I saw it with the best hitter in the game at Barry Bonds,” said Chris Woodward, Rangers manager. “Obviously a compliment to Seeger, for how cool he is. Who knows, maybe it’s a Grand Slam or maybe a double game? But that wasn’t why they won. They didn’t get out of it because of that. Because of that, we ended up scoring a few runs.”
This was only the third time the hitter has intentionally walked with the loaded rules since 1950: Josh Hamilton was also given a free pass with the rules enacted in 2008, and so was Barry Bonds in 1998. It was also the eighth time ever. . It happened. Others who did so were Bill Nicholson in 1944, Mill Ott in 1929, Dale Bissonnett in 1928, Knapp Lagoy in 1901, and Abner Dalrymple in 1881.
Madon was the rival manager when he deliberately chose to go with Hamilton with the loaded bases on August 17, 2008. But it was quite a different situation, because Rays who was being driven by Madon at the time was leading the Rangers by four runs by two. Ninth when Hamilton was released with free pass. Tampa Bay took the win with Marlon Bird exiting to finish the match.
Bonds had also marched on purpose in the ninth inning of a 8-7 loss to linebacker D on May 28, 1998. That run also came with two wins in the ninth, before Brent Maine lined up on the right field to finish the match.
Maddon got a reprieve, however, when the Angels came back with five runs of their own in the fifth, by Homer’s solo from Kurt Suzuki and a two-stage shot from Shohei Ohtani for Homer’s second of the game. Jared Walsh tied the match with an RBI team member and scored the green light in a fly sacrifice from Brandon Marsh. Walsh gave Halos an extra two times to lock in with a two-round blast in the seventh.
Warren said, “Whatever happened, it triggered us. Because we put five runs into the next one. So it all worked out.”
On the other hand, Rangers will not score again after the fourth game of five rounds. Woodward emphasized that the lack of execution on the presentation side was the cause of the loss, not the intentional walk.
“I think everyone else was [surprised]Woodward said. “I don’t think anyone expected that, you know, [up] 3-2 at that time. I have no comment on that either way. I was really glad that Mitch Garver would be hitting now. I mean, he just missed one of the four Grand Slams. I mean, you can look at it in hindsight and say it worked. did not work. We have not yet done so. We had a 6-2 lead. We must win.”