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Please, please, please, can we stop this farce of pitchers hitting?


IndianaTwin
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Can we please just go ahead and put this farce of pitchers hitting to bed and admit that we're pretty much playing with a DH already? 

If I compiled this correctly, in 15 NL playoff games so far, managers have only let their pitchers walk to the plate 42 times (notice that I didn't say "hit," for reasons that will become clear). That's essentially 2.5 plate appearances per game. Not per team per game, but per game. So essentially, half the starting pitchers bat once and half of them bat twice. (There was that fluke when Graterol stayed in to hit flail before being pulled, since Roberts didn't want to waste another pinch hitter in a 6-2 game, and since Roberts certainly wouldn't want to exhaust the incoming pitcher by having him carry a bat all the way from the dugout to the plate and back.)
 
And in those 42 plate appearances, we got the drama of 23 strikeouts and two hits, for a whopping .053 average. The math checkers among us will note that the .053 average comes from a divisor of 38 at bats, since we also have to include those four scintillating sacrifice bunts that were laid down. Two of those sacrifice bunts were with one out, which is code for "let's just hit hope that our pitcher doesn't pop up the bunt into a double play, but at least by having him bunt, we can lessen the likelihood of him getting enough wood on the ball for the defense to get a double play, and hey, we might actually salvage something from this pathetic ineptitude by getting the runner to move up a base. Oh, and please, please, please don't run hard enough to pull a hamstring on the 12 steps you loaf towards first if you actually get the bunt down."
 
Sorry, folks. In a time and place when guys like Gibson, Drysdale, and Kaat actually worked at that aspect of the game enough to be passable hitters (though still weak ones, as their .206, .186 and .185 averages, and .545, .523 and .494 OPSs can attest), maybe, just maybe, there's a small argument against the DH. (And for the record, Mario Mendoza, whose ineptitude got a line named after him, was at .215 and .509, so these "good hitting pitchers" were essentially at his level as hitters.)
 
But we are way past that by now. With any luck at all, we are down to no more than six more games remaining before they put an end to this misery. 
 
(Stepping down from the soapbox now.)
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1 hour ago, Nine of twelve said:

I think there is truth in what anti-DH types say: that the strategy involved in managing a game is more complex with pitchers batting. But does that make the game better? My answer is no.

My answer is yes. I love the added strategy- managers actually have an impact on the game. Yea many of the at bats suck but at this point there are all kinds of non pitcher at bats that suck. 

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12 hours ago, Linus said:

My answer is yes. I love the added strategy- managers actually have an impact on the game. Yea many of the at bats suck but at this point there are all kinds of non pitcher at bats that suck. 

Is it the added quality of strategy, or quantity?

There is no position or lineup spot that is as predictably awful as the pitcher's spot. Not even close. And at the end of the day, forcing teams to play predictably awful players just to see how they deal with the awfulness is the most artificial way to see "strategy." I don't even know that managers or teams are distinguishing themselves in this strategy, or if they are all just doing the same stuff to survive it (note that there is no rule that pitchers have to bat last, but they pretty much all do, either in the starting lineup or after double-switches).

There may be fewer substitutions in a DH league, but I think there is a net gain in the quality of substitutions and strategy. Managers actually have to choose between comparable options rather than go on auto-pilot -- they choose the DH's lineup spot, they can platoon players at DH, they can also give one of their regular fielders a turn at the spot, with potential consequences during the game. And of course during the game, DHs actually reach base in important spots at a decent rate, so they can potentially be lifted for pinch runners (with subsequent pinch hitters to follow).

If you still want to encourage a greater quantity of bench substitutions, then adding 2 bench spots to every roster in a DH league is a far better approach than making pitchers hit. Also, modifying the DH rule to encourage two-way players like Ohtani would be good too.

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4 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

The “strategy” of pinch hitting for pitchers is so over stated for NL fans. The decision most times is so obvious that it’s not really a strategy at all. Simply something that has to be done. 

To add to this:

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29430508/nl-managers-weigh-universal-dh

Last year's NL managers sound more pro-DH than anti-DH.  Doing the same thing all the time, as Otto said, seems like an odd thing to cling to as "strategy".  I mean, is asking your players to wear a glove in the outfield also strategy?

I ask that tongue-in-cheek, but when every NL manager pinch hits in the same situations, the same way, with the same switches and all that stuff....how different is it really?  

Think of the worst hitter you can remember watching.  Pedro Florimon.  Some backup catcher.  Whatever.  Chances are, as bad as they were, they were still several factors better as hitters than your average pitcher.  And that should make sense!  Pitchers are trained and prepare to pitch.  Asking them to hit too is just ridiculous and it yields exactly what you'd expect: utter futility.  No other game forces a highly trained athlete to do something outside their skillset that is demonstrably subpar relative to their peers.  NHL wings don't take turns playing goalie.  NFL punters don't suddenly play nose tackle.  NBA centers aren't suddenly required to heave only half court shots to score.  All of those things sound silly because they are silly and the game would look silly to do it.  It's no different every time I watch some dude flail at pitches in a jacket wishing he had the bunt sign on.

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4 hours ago, gman said:

Baseball has been all about changing rules the past 5 years  or so to make the game more exciting for fans, that I would think adding a hitter to a lineup would be one of the easier decisions to make. Probably also more acceptable to baseball fans.

That is what they say, but then, when the game provided too many home runs and scoring, they  said they changed the ball to be less tight and have more drag and not fly as well. Less excitement. Then the pitchers were too good, and the scoring went way down, and so they enforced a rule they were ignoring about doctoring the ball, and it was supposed to compensate back to more home runs and scoring. How did that work out? Seems they can't make up their mind.

The best thing they could do is take away the balls a strike calls from the plate umpire, as it is disgusting to see how many wrong calls they make, and how it cheats every game that is played. It becomes fake if the most basic part of the game is always a joke, which it is as long as they continue to let umpires guess and make so many wrong calls. It doesn't have to be for years. It would make for a quicker and more real game. New fans don't buy the "it all evens out" crap. And rightfully so.

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I think the DH should be "universal"! There should be unlimited DH’s for any team, as long as you have a roster spot. Need a elite defensive SS that can’t hit? No problem. He plays SS and some 38 yr old veteran stick hits, and rumbles around the bases. Your entire bench could be full of DH types, and if the guy he is hitting for goes down, just insert the DH in the field. Or maybe limit DH’s to 4 per lineup and increase rosters to 30?  Who wants to watch Simmons or Sano hit? Think of the offense, think of the dingers, think of the complaints cause your pitching staff has a collective ERA of 12.6? 

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5 hours ago, Platoon said:

I think the DH should be "universal"! There should be unlimited DH’s for any team, as long as you have a roster spot. Need a elite defensive SS that can’t hit? No problem. He plays SS and some 38 yr old veteran stick hits, and rumbles around the bases. Your entire bench could be full of DH types, and if the guy he is hitting for goes down, just insert the DH in the field. Or maybe limit DH’s to 4 per lineup and increase rosters to 30?  Who wants to watch Simmons or Sano hit? Think of the offense, think of the dingers, think of the complaints cause your pitching staff has a collective ERA of 12.6? 

I’m not sure I want to watch a 9 DH lineup, there may be limits… but if you have an Otahni, why not be able to DH for your SS?

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