Joe Maddon explains his controversial strategy against Rangers
Los Angeles Angels skipper Joe Maddon is no stranger to controversial managerial decisions, and we were all reminded of that on Friday night.
With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning of his team’s game against the Texas Rangers, Maddon made a decision. He concluded that the best course of action was to intentionally walk Corey Seager and put Texas up 4-2, much to the dismay of pitcher Austin Warren.
The decision to walk Seager added to the Rangers’ lead. And from there, things only got worse.
Following Seager’s walk, the Rangers cashed in on a sacrifice fly and then a balk by Warren. When the inning finally came to a close, Texas had a 6-2 lead.
After the game, Maddon explained his line of thinking.
“I thought by walking Seager, it would avoid the big blow. And just to stir up the group, quite frankly. It’s not something you normally do. I thought by going up there and doing something like that, the team might respond to something like that,” Maddon told reporters, via MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.
Maddon is known for using interesting strategies when it comes to handling his players mentally.
As unconventional as the decision was, it did rally the team. The Angels stormed back with a five-run fifth inning before adding another two runs in the seventh. Raisel Iglesias then pitched a scoreless frame in the ninth to close out a 9-6 Los Angeles victory.
Maddon’s decision to intentionally walk a batter with the bases loaded was only the third such instance over the past 70 years. Coincidentally, he was also the last manager to issue a bases loaded intentional walk. The last time he did it came in 2008 when Tampa Bay Rays reliever Grant Balfour issued a walk to Josh Hamilton.
In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks also intentionally walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded.