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Pitchers’ RBI late in games in 2009

Posted by Andy on March 29, 2010

These days, it's fairly rare for pitchers to get big at-bats in games. What I really mean is that when the score is close late in a game, especially when there are runners on base, in most cases the pitcher up at bat will be removed for a pinch-hitter. In the National League, these situations are often avoided altogether by use of double-switches late in games to ensure that the pitcher will not come to bat unless there has already been a significant rally.

Sometimes, however, pitchers do bat with runners on base late in games. Most often, this happens in cases where the pitcher is actually a good hitter and may be a better option than any of the bench players (when adding in the consideration that he'll return to the mound to pitch the next inning) or very late in a game when the manager is loathe to relieve the pitcher and would prefer to take his chances letting him hit.

Here are the instances in the 2009 season when a pitcher batted from the 7th inning onwards with at least one runner on base and produced an RBI for his team.

Yr# Gm# Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score   Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI Play Description
1 1 2009-04-18 Will Ohman LAD COL Ryan Speier ahead 8-3 1B b 7 1-3 2 5 (2-2) 1 Single to RF (Ground Ball thru 2B-1B); Kemp Scores/Team unER; Ausmus to 3B
2 1 2009-05-09 Eric Stults LAD SFG Osiris Matos ahead 6-0 1B b 8 -23 1 1 (0-0) 1 Single to RF (Line Drive to Short CF-RF); Blake Scores/unER; Castro to 3B
3 1 2009-05-11 Osiris Matos SFG WSN Joel Hanrahan ahead 10-4 1B b 8 1-3 2 3 (1-1) 1 Single to 2B (Ground Ball to 2B-1B); Rowand Scores; Lewis to 2B
4 1 2009-05-21 Aaron Cook COL @ATL James Parr ahead 8-0 Out t 7 --3 1 5 (0-2) 1 Flyball: CF/Sacrifice Fly (Deep CF); Barmes Scores
5 1 2009-06-05 Jorge de la Rosa COL @STL Dennys Reyes ahead 2-1 BB t 7 123 0 5 (3-1) 1 Walk; Stewart Scores; Smith to 3B; Phillips to 2B
6 1 2009-06-28 Mariano Rivera NYY @NYM Francisco Rodrig ahead 3-2 BB t 9 123 2 7 (3-2) 1 Walk; Cabrera Scores; Gardner to 3B; Jeter to 2B
8 2 2009-06-30 Jason Marquis COL @LAD Chad Billingsley ahead 1-0 1B t 7 123 2 2 (1-0) 2 Single to LF (Line Drive); Hawpe Scores; Stewart Scores; Iannetta out at 3B/LF-3B-SS
10 2 2009-07-05 Roy Oswalt HOU @SFG Merkin Valdez ahead 5-0 1B t 8 -23 2 6 (3-2) 2 Single to LF (Line Drive to LF-CF); Michaels Scores; Keppinger Scores; Oswalt out at 2B/P-2B
11 1 2009-07-11 Craig Stammen WSN @HOU Jeff Fulchino ahead 9-2 2B t 7 -2- 0 1 (0-0) 1 Double to RF (Ground Ball); Gonzalez Scores
12 1 2009-07-18 Dan Haren ARI @STL Josh Kinney ahead 2-1 BB t 8 123 2 5 (3-1) 1 Walk; Reynolds Scores; Montero to 3B; Young to 2B
13 1 2009-08-04 Guillermo Mota LAD MIL R.J. Swindle ahead 16-4 1B b 8 -2- 2 1 (0-0) 1 Single to RF (Line Drive to Deep CF-RF); Ethier Scores
14 1 2009-08-16 Randy Wolf LAD @ARI Blaine Boyer ahead 7-0 2B t 8 1-- 0 2 (0-1) 1 Double to RF (Ground Ball); Castro Scores
15 1 2009-08-24 Adam Eaton COL SFG Justin Miller down 1-4 BB b14 123 1 5 (3-1) 1 Walk; Fowler Scores; Iannetta to 3B; Tulowitzki to 2B
16 1 2009-09-06 Micah Owings CIN @ATL Kenshin Kawakami tied 2-2 HBP t12 123 1 2 (0-1) 1 Hit By Pitch; Votto Scores; Rolen to 3B; Balentien to 2B
17 1 2009-09-08 Ryan Dempster CHC @PIT Virgil Vasquez ahead 8-2 1B t 7 -23 1 1 (0-0) 1 Single to LF (Ground Ball); Soto Scores; Fukudome to 3B
18 1 2009-09-25 Carlos Zambrano CHC @SFG Tim Lincecum ahead 1-0 Out t 7 1-3 1 1 (0-0) 1 Groundout: SS-2B/Forceout at 2B (Weak SS); Scales Scores
19 2 2009-09-25 Carlos Zambrano CHC @SFG Randy Johnson ahead 2-0 2B t 9 1-- 2 2 (0-1) 1 Double to LF (Line Drive to Deep LF-CF); Fuld Scores
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/28/2010.

Because of the rarity of this event, as we might expect, we see some strange instances on this list.

Here are some observations on this group:

  • Indeed there are a number of good-hitting pitchers in this group, including Zambrando, Marquis, and Owings.
  • Zambrano is the only player to do it twice this season and he managed to do it twice in the same game, which is pretty amazing. That must be a pretty memorable game for Zambrano. He got RBIs off Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson and pitched a 3-0 shutout. Nice.
  • Four of the RBI were bases-loaded walks, which can be blamed entirely on the pitcher (the one who was pitching, I mean, not the pitcher who was hitting.) The RBI walk by Mariano Rivera is especially egregious, given that it was only his 3rd career plate appearance.
  • Owings got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the 12th inning, a +19% WPA play, and batted in the eventual winning run.
  • Perhaps the weird entry of all on this list is Adam Eaton's. He came to bat in the bottom of the 14th inning after having given up 3 runs in the top of the inning. The Rockies came to bat in the bottom of the 14th with just a 5% chance to win by the Win Expectancy measure. With 2 singles and a walk sandwiching an out, the Rockies loaded the bases but increased their chances to just 21%. Eaton batted and walked, driving in a run and pushing the odds to 34%. The Ryan Spilborghs hit a walk-off grand slam, adding in the extra 66% and giving the win to the Rockies. That means that despite pitching only one inning, Eaton had a -31% contribution to the win but at the plate he had a +13%.

3 Responses to “Pitchers’ RBI late in games in 2009”

  1. Johnny Twisto Says:

    "RBIs off Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson and pitched a 3-0 shutout"

    Even if you did nothing else in your career, this would be one hell of a story to tell.

    I think Rivera's RBI BB came in the game he got his 500th save. Great day.

    How many total AB/PA did pitchers have in these situations?

  2. Butch Cassidy Says:

    Yeah Rivera's RBI walk came in the same game as his 500th save. First career RBI. I think he said that the RBI was more memorable for him than the save.

  3. Spartan Bill Says:

    I think if you did an all time list, Rick Camps RBI on 7-5-1985 would jump right off the page.