The Nationals lost a game they had well in hand against the Baltimore Orioles, and one reason was skipper Davey Johnson’s inability to call an intentional walk against the hottest hitter on the planet, the O’s Chris Davis.
In the three games of the series between the Nats and O’s played thus far, here are Davis’s stats:
Game one: Two for four, one walk, two runs scored
Game two: Two for four, one RBI, one home run, two runs scored
Game three: Four for four, three RBI, two home runs, three runs scored
So far, Davis has hits off Gio Gonzalez, Craig Stammen, Nathan Karns, Jordan Zimmermann and Tyler Clippard. He has hurt some of the best members of the Nats staff. He touched Zimmermann for three hits and hit a two run homer against Clippard, two guys on the staff who usually produce nothing but whiffs.
Face it–Chris Davis is on fire in this series. Clippard should not have been pitching to Davis in the seventh inning when the game was in the balance. The O’s had rallied, coming back from a three run deficit. The Nats needed to keep it close. If there was ever a time to intentionally walk a batter, the seventh inning of last night’s game when Davis came to the plate was the time.
Instead, Johnson elected to have Clippard pitch to Davis, a move he admitted afterward was a mistake. It’s no good to realize an intentional walk was the right move AFTER the walk wasn’t issued and you get burned.
At least Johnson said he should have ordered the intentional walk against Davis right after the game. It took him six months to finally say publically that he should have ordered an intentional walk against Pete Kozma in the ninth inning of game five of last years division series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Nationals have one more game against the Orioles tonight. If the game is close and Davis comes to the plate–walk him. Don’t give him the chance to go five for five with three home runs in tonight’s game.