i've long since stopped ranting about la russa's balls-out (no pun) deployment of the intentional walk. put key runners on base, move em into scoring position -- he's gonna do it, i'm gonna hate it, we're all gonna live with it. he did it again in the 9th inning of yesterday's 7-6 win over nym, ibb'ing the winning run (cliff floyd) to get the matchup he wanted. this sort of thing used to upset me a lot more, until i discovered that the cards under tlr generally rank last in the league in ibbs allowed. could hardly believe it; seemed like every other inning our guys were pitching around somebodyurother to get the so-called matchup advantage. but if there were a list for which manager turned the 9th inning into a game of chicken most often, my bet is la russa is leading the field.
i hate that la russa gives away free baserunners with the game on the line; dan scotto at beyond the boxscore hates that the mets gave away a free out in the same circumstance yest'dy. he argues very persuasively that the bottom-9th bunt by miguel cairo cost the mets not only an out but also all of their matchup leverage. the entry link appears to be hosed, so read it on the home page -- it's the may 14 post titled "A Met Fan's Plea Against the Book."
oh and by the way: abe nunez now has 4 hr on the season, all on the first pitch. . . .