Saturday's handling of Tigers' Cabrera pays off
KANSAS CITY -- Not issuing an intentional walk to the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera on Saturday night worked out well for the Royals. He grounded into the third out against reliever Aaron Crow with two runners in scoring position in the eighth inning of the Royals' 6-5 win.
Intentional walks are not among manager Ned Yost's favorite tools anyway. Prior to Sunday, the Royals had issued just 12, second fewest in the American League to Boston's six (Most: Seattle's 32).
"Philosophically, I don't like doing it," Yost said.
Obviously, the Royals pitched Cabrera with special care and Yost expressed confidence both in Crow and catcher Salvador Perez: "Either make a perfect pitch or it's going to be a ball."
Another factor was that Yost managed the Tigers' next batter, Prince Fielder, at Milwaukee and that gave him additional pause.
"I know what it does when you walk the hitter in front of him. You've got to pick your poison between those two guys there," Yost said. "Their lineup, in my estimation, from two to six is as good as anybody's in baseball. And you could match up their three and four hitters [Cabrera and Fielder] up with anybody in baseball. So to just blanketly walk the best hitter in baseball on four pitches to face Prince Fielder, even though his numbers aren't comparable right now to Cabrera's, he's a big-time run producer. So you just kind of have to pick your spots and see if you can make a pitch and get out of it."
Yost is of the school that too often bad things follow an intentional walk.
"It's happened throughout my career. You intentionally walk a slugger, he comes around and scores anyway. It happened [to us] in New York, it happened in Cleveland," Yost said.
"In my mind, yeah, he's the best hitter in baseball but he's still hitting .360 -- this may sound stupid -- and he's making 6 1/2 outs out of 10 [at-bats]. So you just pitch extremely carefully and you hope you can get him to hit one of your pitcher's best pitches at somebody, and that's what happened."
Yost went with the odds and it paid off.