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View Full Version : New Approach by Tony LaRussa


Railsplitter
07-20-2008, 07:36 AM
Tony La Russa has the Cardinals' picthers batiing eighth instead of ninth. I heard this mentioned in pasing yesterday on the Score, and saw the start of the Cards-Padres, but haven't heard why he's doing it.

tlebar318
07-20-2008, 08:50 AM
I believe his theory is that by batting the pitcher in the 8 spot he can kind of do the American League thing where you put a fast guy in the 9 spot and then when you go back to the top of the order after one time thru the lineup you basically have "in theory" 2 leadoff guys back to back with speed. I think?

ArkanSox
07-20-2008, 10:19 AM
I think it's a good move. By batting someone who'll get on base more often than the pitcher would in the ninth spot, you give Pujols the opportunity to drive in more runs from the three spot in the order.

pierzynski07
07-20-2008, 01:03 PM
Milwaukee has also been doing it most of this year (http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/MIL/2008_bo.shtml).

The 7 and 8 hitters are usually there because either a) they suck, or b) they're speed type hitters. However, there's only two spots at the top for speed, and they're not run producers, so they can't bat 3-6. So if you can't drive them in, it doesn't really matter who bats in the final three slots. With that in mind, you might as well get the pitcher spot out of the way, and began working on the next spot of the lineup.

pearso66
07-20-2008, 01:05 PM
He's done this for years. I'm surprised other teams haven't done it. Something must be working, as the Cards seem to win even when they aren't supposed to. Now this may not be because of the lineup, but i'm sure it doesn't hurt.

TDog
07-20-2008, 01:37 PM
He's done this for years. I'm surprised other teams haven't done it. Something must be working, as the Cards seem to win even when they aren't supposed to. Now this may not be because of the lineup, but i'm sure it doesn't hurt.

Yes he has, and Milwaukee has been doing it most of the year as has also been noted.

Tony LaRussa knows more about baseball than I do (and I believe I know a lot about baseball), but I wouldn't do this if I were managing in the National League. In games where the heart of the lineup comes up in the second and the hitters reach base, you get to the pitcher's spot with men on base, often with an out or two, making it impractical for the pitcher to sacrifice.

I don't like this at all. The pitcher traditionally bats ninth because they ninth-place in the order gets the fewest number of at bats. If you put a leadoff hitter ninth (figuring he will leadoff an inning because a pitcher is likely to make the last out of an inning), you might as well bat him first. If you bat your secondary leadoff hitter eighth, the chances of him leading off an inning aren't as high, but when he does lead off an inning, he can get on for the pitcher just as easily as he can get on for the top of the lineup. When he gets on, the pitcher has something to do offensively by being in a sacrifice situation.

Good hitting pitchers, i.e. Gary Peters, have in the past batted higher in the order. You don't see that much anymore, with the Cubs batting Carlos Zambrano ninth, because pitchers aren't expected to pitch complete games anymore, and you wouldn't want Neal Cotts batting sixth in the order. What LaRussa and Ned Yost have been doing is different. It is interesting that the American League with its designated hitter and many lineups using a double-leadoff hitter seems to have influenced the National League managers to the extent that they would have pitchers coming up sooner in the starting lineup. So much for the purity of National League baseball.