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La Russa on batting his pitcher 8th
2007-08-05 11:16
by Bob Timmermann

Tony La Russa last night batted his pitcher (Joel Pineiro) in the #8 slot and had second baseman Adam Kennedy bat ninth. Today, Adam Wainwright is batting eighth and Aaron Miles is batting ninth.

According to a story by Joe Strauss in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, La Russa wants to create more offense by increasing the number of runners who could be on base for the top of his order, which today is David Eckstein, Scott Spiezio, and Albert Pujols.

The manager emphasized that shifting the lineup the way he has in no way suggests the pitcher is a superior hitter to the position player.

"If that's what you think, you're simply not paying attention," La Russa said.

Last night, the Cardinals lost to Washington 12-1 with the only run coming on a home run by Kennedy in the #9 slot and Miles finished up on the mound.

After two innings today, the Cardinals and Nats are tied 1-1. The only run for the Cardinals came on a home run by Ryan Ludwick.

The top of the second of the Cardinals went like this:

- R. Ludwick homered to deep left center
- J. Edmonds walked
- G. Bennett flied out to right
- A. Wainwright sacrificed to catcher, J. Edmonds to second
- A. Miles grounded out to second
2007-08-05 11:51:09
1.   bhsportsguy
What? No research on the winning pct. when teams purposely bat their pitchers in a spot other 9th?
2007-08-05 11:58:01
2.   Sam DC
I happened to catch Don Sutton last night talking about this. It was quite striking. He said, paraphrasing, well, Tony may say that, but to figure out if this makes you'd really have to pull the numbers on how frequently each different spot in the lineup leads off an inning and how often you'd actually get a benefit by having a better hitter in that nine slot instead of the eight slot.

Don Sutton is very good.

2007-08-05 12:00:22
3.   Sam DC
And just to complicate things further, Adam Wainright just homered.

That's two homers from the nine slot in two days!

2007-08-05 12:00:54
4.   Sam DC
I mean, never mind, that's not right, other than the Wainright hitting a home run part.
2007-08-06 07:36:17
5.   Sky
According to The Book by Tango/MGL/Dolphin, batting the pitcher 8th adds about 3 runs per season over batting him 9th. I believe the main idea is that scoring comes in bursts and you want more runners on base as the best hitters come to bat. (The Book also moves the best hitter up to second in the order.) For all of Tony Larussa's annoying habits, this one seems like a defensible strategy, even if lineup order is a tad overrated.

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