Posted by Andy on May 3, 2008
Tony LaRussa is up to his old tricks again, batting pitchers 8th quite often this year.
Check it out here--these are all the times this season a pitcher has faced another pitching batting in the 8th spot. I did it as a Team Pitching Event Finder instead of as a Team Batting Event Finder because it easier to come up with the list of teams who have done it this year:
Those are the opposition teams batting the pitcher 8th. There are some cases where a pitcher ends up batting 8th because he came in as part of a double-switch with the player who was originally batting 8th, and then stays in the game and bats for himself. That's a rare event, but it does happen over the course of the season, usually in extra innings when a manager may be reluctant to pinch-hit for a reliever if he thinks he might need him for a few more innings. So the one time Arizona has done it was in this game. What happened there was really strange and probably not worth going into, but suffice it to say that it was extra-innings madness.
What I described above is exactly what happened when Kevin Hart of the Cubs ended up batting out of the 8 hole in this game. And Jon Leiber has batted 8th three times, all when coming in on a double-switch and staying in the game later to bat.
But all the rest of those PAs, the ones with St Louis and Milwaukee, are because Tony LaRussa and Ned Yost have been routinely batting certain pitchers 8th in their lineup. It makes a lot of sense to me. Hey, for an extreme example, would anybody have a problem if Micah Owings batted 6th or 7th? I sincerely doubt it. Even after an 0-fer last night, Owings is still hitting over .400 this year after hitting .333 last year with 4 homers, 7 doubles, a triple, and 15 RBI in 60 AB.
Here are pitchers batting 8th in past years.
2006 has just one such PA by Ryan Vogelsong of the Pirates.
Mostly courtesy of Dontrelle Willis.
And check out here for the 31 times it happened in 1965.