Posted by John Autin on September 11, 2011
Paul Konerko has drawn 16 intentional walks this year, 3rd in the AL and 7th in White Sox history. As discussed in a prior thread, Konerko is having an excellent year, while the hitters right behind him in the White Sox lineup (mainly #5-6) have done poorly overall. But what about these specific IBB situations? Have opponents benefited from putting Konerko on and pitching to a lesser hitter? Let's take a look.
What happened after an IBB to Konerko? First, a summary:
- 8 of the 16 IBBs came with the White Sox behind or tied; they scored to tie or take the lead in 5 of those 8 innings.
- Sox scored after the IBB in 8 of 16 games overall, a total of 16 runs.
- Sox are 14-2 when Konerko gets an IBB.
Now, here's the detailed result of each inning and game, starting with the date, inning and score at the time of the IBB to Konerko, then describing what happened afterwards (see also the table at bottom):
1. May 11, 10th inning, ahead 5-4 -- Brent Lillibridge sac fly scores insurance run; Sox win.
2. June 6, 8th, ahead 2-1 -- A.J. Pierzynski single scores insurance run; Sox win.
3. June 19, 8th, ahead 4-0 -- Lillibridge RBI single starts 4-run surge after the IBB; Sox win.
4. June 21, 8th, ahead 3-2 -- Adam Dunn pops out with 1st/3rd and 1 out; Sox don't score, but hold their lead and win.
5. June 22, 1st, scoreless -- Alexei Ramirez pops out with 1st/2nd and 2 out; Sox don't score, but go on to win, 4-3. (Intentional walk with 1 man on in the 1st inning of a scoreless game?!?)
6. June 30, 8th, down 4-3 -- Juan Pierre sac fly ties game; Sox win on Pierre hit in the 10th after Konerko fails to get the run in with bases loaded and no out.
7. July 9, 8th, down 3-2 -- Dunn pops out, but Carlos Quentin singles home tying run; Sox win on Ramirez hit in the 9th.
8. July 24, 6th, tied at 1 -- Dunn fly ball to CF is muffed for 2 runs and a 3-1 lead; Sox win, 4-2.
9. July 25, 5th, tied at 2 -- Dunn walks to load the bases; Quentin doubles in 2 for a 4-2 lead; Sox win, 6-3.
10. July 27, 7th, ahead 2-1 -- Dunn walks to load the bases; Quentin fly ball goes for DP as Pierre is thrown out at home; Sox don't score but win, 2-1.
11. August 5, 6th, ahead 4-3 -- Dunn pops out with bases loaded; Quentin flies out; Sox don't score, but win, 5-3.
12. August 13, 8th, ahead 5-4 -- Quentin walks to load the bases; Ramirez makes last out; Sox don't score, but win, 5-4.
13. August 16, 8th, ahead 7-6 -- Quentin flies out to end the inning; Sox don't score, but win, 8-7, on Pierre hit in the 14th.
14. August 17, 3rd, tied at 1 -- Quentin strikes out to end the inning; Sox don't score, go on to lose, 4-1.
15. Sept. 7, 6th, down 4-3 -- IBB to Konerko comes after Ramirez fails to bring in the tying run from 3rd with 1 out; Pierzynski grounds out to end the inning; Sox don't score, go on to lose, 5-4. (Intrigue in the 8th: Twins pitch to Konerko with a 2-run lead, men on 2nd/3rd and no outs; he pops out on a 1-0 pitch; Pierzynski brings in 1 with a groundout; Alexis Rios fans to end the inning.)
16. Sept. 10, 10th, tied at 3 -- Tyler Flowers walks to load the bases; Rios hits grand slam, Sox win.
Needless to say, it's a very small sample under analysis here. I've ignored other walks to Konerko that may have been semi-intentional -- he's drawn 8 other 4-pitch walks, and 17 walks on a 3-1 count (though just 6 of those 25 came with "a base open") -- as well as situations where he may have expanded his strike zone in key RBI situations because of the struggles of the hitters behind him. (Here's a table showing the situation for all 73 walks to Konerko.)
Still, the overall effects of the 16 IBBs to Konerko are pretty striking. The results won't surprise those who've read studies of intentional walks, which generally conclude that the strategy is used more often than it's called for. But White Sox fans -- and general proponents of "lineup protection" -- might be surprised at Chicago's 14-2 record when Konerko draws an IBB.
Your thoughts? Our lines are open -- and so is 1st base.
Here are Konerko's IBBs in date order. Note the Win Probability Added (WPA) column: By a purely probabilistic model -- looking only at the score/base/out/inning situation, without regard to player identities -- not one of the 16 IBBs increased the opponent's odds of winning the game. The worst WPA effect, from the opponent's perspective, was in #7 in the list, when the Konerko pass put the go-ahead run on base with 1 out in the bottom of the 8th.
|1||2011-05-11||@LAA||Kevin Jepsen||ahead 4-5||t10||--3||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.23||1.15|
|2||2011-06-06||SEA||David Pauley||ahead 1-2||b8||-2-||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.00||0.12||.82|
|3||2011-06-19||@ARI||Esmerling Vasquez||ahead 0-4||t8||-2-||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.00||0.22||.31|
|4||2011-06-21||CHC||Rodrigo Lopez||ahead 2-3||b8||-2-||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.24||.76|
|5||2011-06-22||CHC||Doug Davis||tied 0-0||b1||--3||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.14||1.31|
|6||2011-06-30||@COL||Matt Lindstrom||down 4-3||t8||-23||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.17||3.51|
|7||2011-07-09||MIN||Glen Perkins||down 3-2||b8||-2-||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.04||0.24||3.49|
|8||2011-07-24||@CLE||Justin Masterson||tied 1-1||t6||-2-||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.11||1.86|
|9||2011-07-25||DET||Duane Below||tied 2-2||b5||-2-||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.12||1.61|
|10||2011-07-27||DET||Phil Coke||ahead 1-2||b7||-2-||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.24||1.06|
|11||2011-08-05||@MIN||Nick Blackburn||ahead 3-4||t6||-23||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.17||1.65|
|12||2011-08-13||KCR||Blake Wood||ahead 4-5||b8||--3||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.14||.97|
|13||2011-08-16||CLE||Vinnie Pestano||ahead 6-7||b8||-2-||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.00||0.12||.82|
|14||2011-08-17||CLE||Fausto Carmona||tied 1-1||b3||-2-||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.12||1.31|
|15||2011-09-07||@MIN||Alex Burnett||down 4-3||t6||-23||2||4 (3-0)||0||0.02||0.17||3.36|
|16||2011-09-10||CLE||Chris Perez||tied 3-3||b10||-2-||1||4 (3-0)||0||0.01||0.24||3.17|