As we all know, teams that have walked Yuni B are 0-9. The strategy has never led to victory ever. But has it worked in-game? I happened to be looking at Yuni’s stats because, well, that’s basically all I do* and noticed that the first time he was walked intentionally on May 23rd of 2007 against the Devil Rays, it actually worked out for the Devil Rays.
It happened in the top of the 6th inning with the Mariners already up 3-1 and Casey Fossum pitching for the Devil Rays. The Mariners had already scored once in the inning when Kenji Johjima doubled to drive in Jose Guillen. Adrian Beltre ended up on 3rd and Yuni was walked to load the bases with one out. Jose Lopez promptly grounded into an inning ending double play.
So walking Yuni actually worked, though the Devil Rays still lost the game. Here’s the rest.
June 8th, 2007, Mariners 6, Padres 5.
When was he walked: In the top of the 7th with the Mariners already up 5-1. There were 2 outs meaning Yuni was walked not to set up a double play, but to get to the next batter. This was an interleague game so pitcher Miguel Batista was up next.
Did it work: Batista grounded out, so at least for this inning, yes it did.
June 12th 2007, Mariners 5, Cubs 3.
When was he walked: In the top of the 13th inning with the score tied 3-3. Will Ohman retired the first 2 batters but Jose Vidro followed with a double. The Cubs then walked Yuni on purpose to get to Willie Bloomquist, who promptly singled to drive in Vidro. Ohman then intentionally walked Ichiro to get to the pitcher’s spot where the Mariners pinch hit Jamie Burke for Eric O’Flaherty. He singled and drove in Yuni.
Did it work: Hell no.
August 3rd, 2010, Royals 3, A’s 2.
When was he walked: In the top of the 9th of a tie game. Alex Gordon reached, and made 2nd on an error. Mitch Maier Yosted him over to 3rd. Yuni was then given a free pass to set up the double play.
Did it work: Nope. Gregor Blanco hit a weak grounder to short but the A’s couldn’t turn two and Gordon scored the eventual winning run. It didn’t necessarily fail, I suppose as Yuni was actually cut down at 2nd, but I don’t think we can count it as a victory since a non-Yuni player was allowed to bat.
April 7th, 2011, Brewers 4, Braves 2.
When was he walked: In the bottom of the 7th with the Brewers already ahead 4-2. Yuni was actually walked immediately after Casey McGehee grounded into a double play. This was a really strange decision. The bases were loaded and McGehee grounded into a 4-2-3 double play leaving runners on 2nd and 3rd. Jonny Venters, a lefty was pitching for the Braves and he put Yuni on to face Nyjer Morgan.
Did it work: Yes, Nyjer struck out with the bases loaded.
May 18th, 2011, Brewers 5, Padres 2.
When was he walked: In the top of the 6th with the score tied 2-2. Mark Kotsay was on 2nd after driving in Fielder with a double to tie the game. Casey McGehee reached third. Yuni was then walked to load the bases with 1 out, setting up a potential double play.
Did it work: No, no it did not. Jonathan Lucroy was plunked on the first pitch from Ernesto Frieri driving in the go-ahead run. Gallardo was on deck and he and Weeks subsequently struck out.
May 28th, 2011, Brewers 3, Giants 2.
When was he walked: In the bottom of the 9th. You already can probably tell that it didn’t work.
Did it work: Hell no. With the game tied Guillermo Mota allowed a lead-off single to Braun. Prince followed that with an infield single (ha!). Casey then grounded out, but did manage to move the runners up 90 feet. Yuni was walked to set up the double play, and Lucroy pinch hit for Nieves. Braun scored on what was almost definitely a suicide squeeze from Lucroy (bunt to weak 2b) and everyone was safe as the winning run scored.
April 8th, 2013, Brewers 7, Cubs 4.
When was he walked: In the top of the first with 2 outs, the Brewers had, by this point, already put up a four spot. Yuni was walked after a bases-clearing double by Maldy to get to Marco Estrada.
Did it work: Yes, but the damage had already been done. Marco struck out.
April 17th, 2013, Brewers 4, Giants 3.
When was he walked: In the bottom of the 9th with the score tied. Yeah, this again.
Did it work: Nope, but it wasn’t a bad move. Due to some fielding incompetence by the Giants the Brewers ended up with runners on 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out and the pitcher’s spot on deck. Santiago Casilla put Yuni on to load the bases and Blake Lalli hit a game winning single.
So that’s it! Final count:
Why: Yuni was put on to set up the double play 5 times, however this strategy only resulted in a double play once, the very first time it was tried. Teams walked Yuni simply to avoid him on 4 occasions, and this was successful 3 times, twice with pitcher batting next, and once with Nyjer Morgan batting next.
Success overall: Walking Yuni intentionally ultimately succeeded (meaning accomplished what the opponent intended) 4 times and failed 5 times, but really, I think we can all agree that the act itself is always a failure.
*besides looking at Rickie Weeks’ stats and Scooter Gennett’s stats.