2018 NLCS: Brewers Manager Craig Counsell Explains Decision To Not Intentionally Walk Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger
Cody Bellinger, 2018 NLCS
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Bellinger played hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, coming up with a walk-off single in the 13th inning to give his team a 2-1 victory and even the series at two games apiece.


The fact of the matter is that Bellinger should not have even been up in that situation. With Manny Machado at second base and two outs in the inning, the Brewers could have intentionally walked Bellinger to bring up the struggling Yasmani Grandal.

To take matters a step further, the Brewers could have then intentionally walked Grandal to load up bases for reliever Julio Urias. He, or another pitcher, was guaranteed to bat as the Dodgers did not have any position players available.

In 29 career Major League at-bats, Urias has just four hits which is good for a .138 batting average.

“It was from my view we were trying to expand on Cody Bellinger,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell explained after the heartbreaking loss. “And with 3-2, we wouldn’t have pitched to Grandal, either, the pitcher was after that. It was expand and we expanded, we just left the pitch too much up to Bellinger.

“I thought it was worth the risk of trying to expand to Bellinger, and if the at-bat goes to Grandal, we walk Grandal.”

While Counsell was hoping to get Bellinger to chase a pitch out of the strike zone, Brewers reliever Junior Guerra was in the process of completing a fourth inning, and he left a hanging breaking ball in the zone.

That, of course, wasn’t the only reason the Brewers lost the game. But it certainly was a key moment in the game that Counsell has to be regretting his decision after the fact.

He will not have much time to sulk over it though as Game 5 is Wednesday at 2:09 p.m. PT, just 15 hours after the conclusion after Game 4.

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