ARLINGTON, Texas -- The way Josh Hamilton continues to crush opposing pitchers, it's possible that opposing managers may alter their approach and start intentionally walking him.
One problem: Adrian Beltre awaits on deck. He's got power and is hitting for high average. If he doesn't get it done, Michael Young, an annual .300 hitter and the Rangers' all-time hits leader, will get a chance.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia knows all about it. On Sunday, Hamilton came up with runners and second and third and one out. He could have walked Hamilton to face Beltre. But Beltre already had two RBIs, including one on a two-out single, and Jered Weaver had struck out Hamilton twice in the game. Scioscia said he left it up to Weaver, who decided go to after Hamilton. The 2010 AL MVP hit a double to right to score two more runs and make it 8-2.
"With their lineup, you almost have to pick your poison," Weaver said. "With Beltre behind, what are you going to do? Hamilton's about as hot as anybody right now, but we were able to get him to expand a couple of times. The last time, he somehow was able to get his hands through it and hit the ball to right field."
Hamilton said he didn't even think the Angels would walk him.
Before the game, Young talked about intentionally walking Hamilton and felt it wouldn't be a smart move by the other team.
"I think that’s a bad strategy," Young said. "That always works in favor of the offensive team. When you give a team free baserunners, it always works in the offensive team's favor. When (Barry) Bonds was with the Giants, they didn’t have anything close to our offensive depth. For Josh’s sake, I hope he keeps getting pitches to hit. If they want to give us free baserunners, we'll take it all day long."
Hamilton agrees, saying that if he doesn't get pitches to hit, he'll drop the bat, walk to first and let his teammates handle it. Manager Ron Washington said Hamilton will swing at anything, making him difficult to walk even for pitchers trying to pitch around him. As for the idea of manager's putting up four fingers and intentionally walking him?
"If they decide not to pitch to him, I'd like to see Beltre up there in any situation," Washington said. "So don't pitch to him, and pitch to Beltre. Or don't pitch to Beltre and pitch to Michael. Or don't pitch to Michael and pitch to (Nelson) Cruz. I don't care. Every one of those guys is capable of hurting you. So, maybe they won't. Maybe they will."
Hamilton has been intentionally walked five times. That leads the American League. But the fact that the Rangers are deep behind Hamilton gives manager's pause when walking him. And Beltre has made other teams pay a few times already this season when Hamilton has been walked in front of him.
It's easy to say that Scoiscia should have walked Hamilton now that we know he hit a double. But erase that from your mind. You get the make the call now.
You're managing against the Rangers. Runners at second and third (so first base is open) with one out. Do you walk Hamilton and pitch to Beltre or do you take your chances with Hamilton? Does your opinion change if there are two outs? Tell us what you'd do and why.