Ball Four. Two more four letter words.

In Thursday’s Hannibal-Terre Haute game, pitchers issued a combined total of 14 walks. Four of the hitters walked by Hannibal pitchers scored. Two of the hitters walked in the bottom of the 8th by Terre Haute scored in Hannibal’s 9-7 win on July 25th. Turns out those runners made a huge difference when combined with a defensive  breakdown on a hit by Kyle Kuck in the bottom of the 8th…

Trevor Kenyon made the Rex pay for the second walk and the bad throw…

Sure, Zach Nichols and Damon Waller might have both singled ahead of Kuck's hit.  But, the chance of either getting a hit is is around one in four.  If they put the ball in play, there is a chance to get 'em. That chance is gone when they trot down to first base.

Terre Haute also benefited from three walks by Cavemen starter Wes Judish in the top of the third. All three of those runners scored in the third inning.

There is no way to defense a walk short of picking the runner off or throwing him out on an attempted steal.

I’m not a fan of pitching around anyone early in the game. I firmly believe that walks—intentional or otherwise-- in the second or third might put a hot hitter in a position to beat you in the 8th or 9th.

There is a story about former Boston Braves manager George Stallings. When on his deathbed in 1929, he was asked by a visitor what was killing him.  His answer? “Bases on Balls”

Like the T-shirt says, "Babe Ruth is dead, throw strikes!"