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Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta blasted his old manager, Joe Maddon, for his antics on Friday night.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, already down a run, Angels manager Joe Maddon opted to intentionally walk Corey Seager with the bases loaded. Essentially, he got the Barry Bonds treatment.
Seager is a tremendous hitter, don’t get me wrong. But Maddon raised some eyebrows by pulling out this tactic so early in the game. Nonetheless, LA would come back and win, so it worked out in the end. Maddon explained himself postgame:
I thought by walking Seager, it would avoid the big blow,” Maddon told reporters. “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.”
Joe Maddon, Jake Arrieta disagree on intentional walk idea
While walking Seager avoided by big blow by the slugger himself, the Rangers were able to tack on two more runs that inning, so the tactic didn’t necessarily work as intended. At least not immediately.
“Whatever it did, it sparked us,” Angels pitcher Austin Warren, who walked Seager, said. “Because we put up five runs the next inning. So it all worked out.”
Former Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta disagreed in the moment, though, and let his old manager hear it on social media:
“Walking in a run already down by one, with a fresh reliever in the game. You are better off pulling the pitcher and optioning him immediately bc you have no faith in his ability. Seager is an incredible hitter, but what is happening to baseball?”
Arrieta isn’t wrong, but Maddon is an analytical thinker. He’s always willing to try outside-the-box tactics, and this is just another example.
Walking Seager didn’t avoid runs in the immediate aftermath, but we’ll never know if it helped the Angels win the game.