Big Lead Sports Bar

3/29/2010

IT'S TIME...TO BAT THE PITCHER EIGHTH



John Russell has apparently cracked the code to what's ailed the Pirates' lineup since the end of the 1992 season: they were batting the pitcher in the wrong spot.

Russell recently revealed that he plans to bat the pitcher eighth in the lineup for most games this season, with shortstop Ronny Cedeno or his backup Bobby Crosby hitting ninth. Hopefully, neither Cedeno or Crosby had any self-esteem, because that was surely abandoned their your spot in the batting order fell below the pitcher.

Said the cutting-edge manager, who joins Tony LaRussa and Ned Yost as contemporary managers who've experimented with this bit of lineup mad science in the past:
"I think we're going to look at it and probably go with it," Russell said this morning, after posting a lineup with starter Paul Maholm batting eighth and shortstop Bobby Crosby -- a late replacement for a scratched Cedeno, who's battling lower-back tightness -- batting ninth. "We tried it a couple of years ago, trying to get the right guys in the lineup. I think we have that now with Aki and Andrew and Ronny and Andy [LaRoche] hitting in front of the pitcher, a patient-type hitter. it sets us up to be able to score more runs and get a couple of hitters in front of Andrew. With the makep of our lineup, it only seemed to make a lot more sense to get more guys in scoring position in front of Aki, Andrew and [Garrett] Jones and [Ryan] Doumit. I think we have the personnel to do it."
I don't know what the Pirates "have the personnel to do" other than challenge for an 18th straight losing season, but if John Russell and the number-crunchers think this will make a difference, I say go for it. It's not like they could do much worse than they have in the past. At least this might make things interesting.

Russell: Pitcher to bat 8th this year [PBC Blog]

Pirates plan to bat the pitcher eighth this season [NBC Hardball Talk]

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10 comments:

Someone Somewhere said...

YES!!! Now this is the formula that should finally get John Russell over that magic 100-loss-hump he has been teasing the past few seasons. Keep up the good work John, the 2001 Pirates look forward to you joining their rareifed air.

Corey said...

the only things a pittsburgh pirate manager is responsible for is pulling pitchers when they're hot, keeping pitchers in when they're not, and screwing up the batting lineup...

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

if your pitcher isn't dwight gooden, he should be getting as few at bats as possible.

Doug said...

I am shocked at this news! You mean the Pirates actually have a manager? I thought that was a cardboard cut out of a guy in the dug out. All this time I was under the impression that Nutting was just saving a few bucks by not hiring a manager.

AJ said...

Something tells me that Russell would bat the pitcher in the 8th spot even if the Pirates were and American league team.

Nate said...

Statistical analysis actually shows that the optimal lineup of almost every NL team would benefit from having the pitcher bat 8th. That's why LaRussa and Yost did it, too. Of course, over the course of a season, it doesn't add up to very much - about 20 more runs total - but every little bit counts.

BURGH08 said...

I didn't know Rocco DeMaro had a love child.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

@ Nate - I would love to peruse the "statistical analysis" that you are referencing... can you post a link?

Corey said...

@homerun - nate is a habitual defender of the pittsburgh pirates' entire organization...

Someone Somewhere said...

I think it's commonly referred to by mental health professionals as Stockholm Syndrome.