When the dust had settled after Josh Hamilton's historic four-homer performance against the Orioles at Camden Yards, some inquiring minds wanted to know why the Orioles pitchers kept throwing him strikes.
That would be the obvious second-guess after a 5-for-5 performance that produced eight RBIs and an American League record 18 total bases, but it's not really so obvious at all. I suppose you could make the case for walking him with one out and nobody on in the fifth inning -- when he doubled -- but not in any of the four home run at-bats.
Certainly, you're not going to walk him with a runner on in the first inning, even if he was leading the league with 10 home runs at the time. And you're probably not going to walk him with a runner on and two outs in the third with Adrian Beltre (.319) batting behind him. By the time he came up in the seventh, the Orioles were trailing by four runs, so walking him would have put the fifth run in scoring position. And, anyway, at that point it simply became an opportunity for Buck Showalter to get a look at newly promoted left-hander Zach Phillips in a tough situation.
Well, I guess Showalter could have ordered him walked when it was a blowout in the eighth, but that would have been bush league and the Orioles would have looked worse than they did giving up a piece of history.
Obviously, in retrospect, they should have walked him all five times he came to the plate, but that's just not the way you play the game.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times