High IQ: Craig Kimbrel pulled off a ‘rare’ intentional balk to close out Game 1 of the NL Wild Card against the Marlins
Craig Kimbrel took the mound at Citizens Bank Park last night with the Phillies up 4-1 against the Miami Marlins in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card.
Quick Note for Craig Kimbrel’s Entrance from the Bullpen
Okay now that we’re caught up, Kimbrel ended up closing out the game for The Fightins with a clean 9th inning and in the process, used a move that is rarely ever seen in baseball these days.
He took an intentional balk with two outs and a runner on second base.
Craig Kimbrel: Intentional Balk
Kimbrel with the intentional balk? pic.twitter.com/Fh2rIhFOUD— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 4, 2023
The move left several fans confused as to what exactly was happening and why Kimbrel would advance a runner from second to third base.
High IQ baseball, baby. Talk about a veteran move from Kimbrel.
The runner on second was basically meaningless, so Kimbrel wanted to shift his focus solely on the batter and avoid any chance of his pitches or the location of his pitches tipped off.
Again, there were two outs and the runner on second doesn’t matter. The runner could easily steal signs (which is perfectly legal), giving an advantage to the batter.
Craig was having none of it. He dropped that baseball and told the runner to advance. No problem at all. Not worried about anything in the moment as he shut the door on the Fish to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the Wild Card Series.
That’s exactly what you want from the Phillies’ bullpen and more importantly, Craig Kimbrel as the closer.