20 December, 2013


This is always the argument I hear against the DH, but I've yet to hear a convincing argument in support. How much strategy is really involved with the pitcher's spot in the batting order? Can someone convince me? Good answers so far. Basically… I personally like the DH. I know this is an unpopular opinion among baseball purists, but my opinion is my own. Its true that the NL has some very different strategy because of the lack of the DH. Bunting is more common, the double switch is used which takes a position player out of the game, and a pitcher's night is often cut short due to a critical at bat rather than letting him go deeper into the game. However, I don't believe this represents more strategy or better strategy than what is used in the AL. The DH allows the manger to completely separate batting decisions from pitching decisions. This allows for better pitching, because pitchers stay in the game as long as they can pitch, and aren't removed for pinch hitters. Plus on offense it allows the manager to use his pinch hitters and pinch runners at any time rather than saving them for the pitcher's slot. In the NL, almost all strategic decision is centered around pitchers in the batting line up. In the the AL, mangers are free to apply the best pitching strategy and best hitting strategies independently. I'll end with this point: The idea of managing strategy around a player who is bad at his job just doesn't seem right to me. The simple fact is that pitchers are poor hitters. I don't personally like strategy that is centered around eliminating the impact that a bad player has on your team's result. I'd rather see games where managers are allowed to maximize the amount of talent in the lineup, then use strategy to get the most out of that talent.

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  1. Alex RR378 December 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm #
    It absolutely takes a lot of strategy out of the game for managers. First off, most times in the later innings managers are forced to take out their starters(no matter how well that they're doing or not)in most close games. This can totally change a game especially if that starter has limited the other team to hardly any runs and you put in basically a pitcher that wasn't good enough to start or close a game(assuming that they change happens before the 9th). Then you have to replace the pitcher with in most cases a hitter that isn't good enough to start either but he a more dependable hitter than the pitcher in terms of what you're looking to do in that AB. Then you add in double switches which can change the lineup around to prevent the pitchers spot to come up again the latest possible in future innings(lou piniella is a master at this). Then whom you place in your 8th hitting spot is important as well. You tend to want someone that is patient and pesky and not a strikeout candidate because you always want that hitter to get on so the pitcher does not have to leadoff any innings. Then a pitchers "pitch count" plays a greater role in the National League then the American league. Why?? Because they're situations in almost every NL game where it is the 6th or 7th inning and your starter is close to his limit and he bats in the later inning. In these situations, the manager is more inclined to take him out if he struggles at all(since he is coming out anyways when he bats)that particular inning, possible make a double switch with the batter that made out last. Then the "pinch hitter" is far more important in the NL then the AL so having a deep bench has more importance in the NL. So this means that a manager needs to keep his players off the bench fresh. So he needs to play them 1-2x a week in replace of your everyday minor starters. You don't see this as nearly as much in the AL where the managers tend to go with the same 9 guys everyday. This is why you have to give managers like LaRussa and Piniella that excelled at managing in both leagues.
  2. Paulina RR December 17, 2013 at 7:20 pm #
    The pitcher isn't trained to hit, just to pitch so when the pitcher is up to bat, it is a distinct advantage to the opposing teamafter all, players hit off a pitcher mostly 2 or 3 times out of 10, and you know how much they trainso when the batter is the pitcher, a manager must decide if the pitcher should go up and show off his . 187 average or use a sacrifice bunt/flyorrrrswitch him out with another batter not letting him pitch anymoreso in the late innings the choice is should you let the pitcher who requires the most confidence and concentration to do a useless at-bat, or take him out and hope your bullpen comes through for you
  3. A. Raneesh December 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm #
    If the much-vaunted double switch were a real strategic move and not only a routine, push-button option engaged with a predictability of >95%, I might think the DH has lessened strategy. But it is, and it doesn't, so it hasn't. Different tactics, certainly, along with some really ridiculous things like eight-man bullpens and letting the save opportunity dictate when to change pitchers rather than the game situation (a classic "tail wagging the dog". If a manager wants eight men in his bullpen, it's his problem where to find pinch-hitting bats.
  4. Bright Eyes Jeffs December 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm #
    With the DH I the order it pretty much takes out the sacrifice bunt part of the game. Rarely do you see an AL team sac bunt because they dont have a single player in their line-up who really needs to bunt. They are mostly hitters more than bunters. I hate the DH I miss pitchers sac bunting the winning run to secon/third, it adds to the intensity of the game. Hope this helps.
  5. Depressed XXX973 December 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm #
    Let me qualify my statements by saying I am much more in favor of the pitchers hitting then I am of the DH rule (didn't even like it as an 11 yr old when they started it. )I don't know if the DH rule really means more strategy. It may mean a different type of strategy, and it may even mean more possibilities. While the sac bunt is certainly not used as much in the AL now, I think the biggest difference comes in deciding when to hit for your pitcher, and the use of the double switch. It's a tough decision to make when you've got a picher going well, maybe it's the bottom of the 7th, you have a 1-1 tie, the pitchers only thrown 80 pitches or so, and he's leading off the inning. Do you take a pitcher out who's still strong, or do you figure, this might be the last at bat for some of the guys at the top of the order, maybe I better get a man on base for them?The double switch is fun too. As an example, you're Lou Piniella. You've got a time game going into the top of the 9th, and Ramirez just made the last out. You're bringing Wood in to pitch, and hoping to win the game in the bottom half. Do you leave Ramirez in, knowing that, if the game goes into extra innings, you are missing your best RBI man? Or do you move DeRosa to third, bring in Fontenot and put him in the 9 hole to bat 4th in the 9th inning?I think these two possibilities make for a lot more choices, and get extremely tough to make late in ball games. They also can greatly affect a game that goes into extra innings. You may burn 2 or 3 bats up in the first 9, then have to survive a few more innings with a much more limited bench.
  6. Alex Jeffs December 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm #
    Late inning pitching changes and double switches. If the pitching slot comes up in the next inning, you may be hesitant to bring in a reliever, especially in a game that threatens extra innings. Typically, if the pitcher's location comes up in the next inning, a NL manager is forced to double switch and move his slot back in the line-up. This takes two players out of the game and forces you deeper into your bench. A team with little depth, especially in certain positions is less likely to do this. The sacrifice bunt also become less significant. Low scoring games tend to have more strategy than high scoring games as each run is harder to come by and thus more valuable, so the get them on get them over get them in philosophy takes on a more important role than the "pound them in" philosophy. Then the pinch hitter becomes significantly more important in a NL game than an AL game. In the AL a pinch hitter might be used to get a lefty-righty matchup, but in the NL your pitcher could be throwing a one hitter in the seventh and the team is down a run with a man on when his slot in the line-up comes up. In the AL he stays on the mound, in the NL you have to make a strategic decision of the value and likelihood of that runner coming in to score, versus the chance that a relief pitcher could hold the one run lead, knowing that your starter could keep going.
  7. Dee Nesmith December 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm #
    Here are some reasons the DH is no good for baseball. . . Double switches are uncessary in the AL, there is no need to take out pitchers and the person whoever made the last out in an inning in order to preserve the lineup, since lineup preservation in the AL is automaticdo you leave a pitcher in if his batting location is due up first, second, third or fourth in the upcoming inning? With the DH, it is a matter of determining the tiredness of the pitcher, not if he has to batDontrelle Willis, Mike Hampton, Rick Rhoden, Micah Owings, etc. . . All good hitting pitchersThere is more. . . But I'll bore those people with no baseball brains (the DH lovers. . . )Also, many former and current managers know that the NL is a harder league to manage. . . Ask Buck Showalter, Joe Torre, etc. . .
  8. Florida Dree December 17, 2013 at 11:44 pm #
    For the record, I agree with you. But to play devils advocate. . . If forced to argue this point I think I would start by mentioning that in a close game in the 5-7 innings you need to make any tough decisions. Your starters line in 5 IP 1R 3 H, 88 pitches. His spot in the order is up, the score is 1-1, runner on 3rd, 1 out. Your bullpen is tired, but can be used. What do you do? You have to manage your bench, and bullpen more in the national league. The AL you send up your lineup for the day, and may situationally swich a man in for defensive purposes, or a Righty up to face a lefty, but pitching, and managing your staff is taken out of the equation.
  9. Dee Baghwan December 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm #
    There are a lot of situations involving a pitcher that takes strategy and a lot of managerial judgment calls. There are most likely a lot more than I list. Hope this convinces you at least a little bit. Sac Bunts (already been mentioned)Pinch HItting late in a game (also mentioned)What if the pitcher is hit/walked, do you pinch run in a close game. (example. 7th inning, pitcher is throwing a great game and tied at 1-1. One out, and your leadoff has already hit into a DP. Do you pinch run to have a better shot at breaking it up?)What if you want to bring in a middle reliever, but the pitcher spot is up next inning? Do you waste a reliever when there is a game tomorrow and he could be needed, or do you let the starter attempt one more inning, or to get out of a jam in a close game?Some situations, teams have to bring their closer in the end of the 8th. Now what? You don't want your closer batting in a close/tie game because you want that run or two, but you don't want to take him out early, he's your closer. What do you do?Now at a maximum of every three innings you have a very weak spot in the lineup. This forces the lower part of the lineup to be able to move runners up and score them before the pitcher spot. You're effectively losing 2-3 outs per game because of the starter. How do you work around that?Those are just a few.