Adrian Gonzalez has walked a league-leading 57 times so far in 2009. He’s on pace to receive 108 free passes over the course of this season.
That’s not nearly enough.
Let’s look at the line for the Padres’ slugger: .274/.415/.606. That’s 24 home runs in 69 games, and a 1.021 OPS.
In the Padres lineup, Scott Hairston (.951 OPS) has presented a
consistent threat, but is just coming off the DL. Otherwise Gonzalez is
surrounded by the likes of David Eckstein (.680 OPS), Kevin Kouzmanoff
(.678) and Chase Headley (.674).
So when is it OK to pitch to Gonzalez? When you’re up 10-0 and you
like your bullpen. Otherwise, never. OK I’m exaggerating, but it really
is amazing pitchers aren’t smarter about this. Just put your ego aside
and put him on. Or hope he gets impatient and chases something on the
The Mariners, for example, were leading 1-0 in the fourth inning
Tuesday night. Garrett Olson had a man on first with nobody out.
Instead of walking Gonzalez and having two on with nobody out, he
grooved a pitch to the big lefty that hasn’t landed yet. Watch it! Padres 2, Mariners 1. It’s just stupid.
And while we’re handing out advice, the same rule applies to Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals star has a 1.159 OPS. The players around him? Skip
Schumaker (.754), Chris Duncan (.746), Ryan Ludwick (.744), and Rick
Just makes sense.