Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was referring to his own performance when he said that allowing walks was bad news. He also was looking into the future for the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Walking anybody never works out. Never," Burnett said after Game 1 of the NLDS, when he walked four and got hammered in a lopsided loss.
Walking the No. 8 batter intentionally didn't work out in the second inning of Game 2 for the Cardinals on Friday afternoon, because Pirates rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole made them pay with a two-out RBI single to center that opened the scoring.
"I kind of figured Lynn was going to come after me, so I just tried to stay short and stay up the middle," Cole said. "I don't know, I don't really have an approach up there, so I just see him and try not to break my bat."
The Pirates added two runs in the third and two more in the fifth and went on to win 7-1 to even the best-of-five series at a game apiece.
A 22-year-old rookie, Cole came in 7 for 34 with no extra-base hits and one walk with 15 strikeouts, but that does pencil out to a .206 batting average to go with five RBIs. So it's not like Cole was completely abysmal this season at the plate. Still, Cards manager Mike Matheny chose to walk Jordy Mercer to put runners at first and second with two outs. Mercer is having a good year, batting .285/.336/.435 in 365 plate appearances, so he was more dangerous than Cole — more dangerous than most pitchers.
But in a scoreless game, in the top of the second inning, with Lynn having registered four strikeouts already, and having made just one mistake — allowing a double to Pedro Alvarez earlier in the frame — it wasn't necessarily a move every manager would make.
Lynn hit the next batter, Starling Marte, but Neil Walker grounded to first on the next pitch to end the inning. Lynn did not seem the same going forward, allowing a total of five earned runs, seven hits, three walks and a hit batter over 4 1/3 innings.
Cole struck out in his next at-bat, but lined to first with two runners aboard in the fifth, kicking the dirt in disgust after missing a chance to drive in at least one more run.