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Pitchers batting 8th

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:

STL 79
MIL 60

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.


STL 116

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.

11 Responses to “Pitchers batting 8th”

  1. statboy Says:

    "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."

    That's not really an o-fer, since he didn't have any at-bats!
    (two walks)

  2. spartanbill Says:


    I hate to point out this chart has some flaws. A couple of the games listed in the chart actually contradict the box scores. Sammy Ellis and the 3 AB by Jim Maloney for example.

    The game thatlists McDaniel and Warner is doubly wrong as those pitchers did not bat for the Cubs, but Billy Odell had a single in the 8 hole for the Braves.

    There may be other examples too.

  3. spartanbill Says:

    Oh jeez I just realized the pitcher was listed in the 1st column and the batter second.

    Never Mind.

  4. Andy Says:


  5. David in Toledo Says:

    Pitchers have batted 7th. Check out this report:

  6. David in Toledo Says:

    Since 1956, only once has a genuine starting pitcher batted 6th or higher: Gary Peters for the White Sox, May 26, 1968. He went 0 for 2. Peters, whose career average was .222, pinch-hit in 77 games.

    Since 1956, there have been 45 instances when a position player -- originally batting somewhere higher than 9th -- was sent to the mound as a reliever. Want to guess how many times his team won the game?

    Once. (Well, on August 13, 1958, Rocky Colavito pitched the last three [no-hit] innings of a 3-2 loss.) The winning team was Detroit on October 1, 2000 (12-ll, featuring Shane Halter). Halter played every position, faced only one batter and walked him, but was 4 for 5 batting 8th.

    On September 22, 1968, Cesar Tovar also played every position and his Minnesota Twins won, 2-1. Tovar started his game and pitched a hitless first inning, reached base twice as the leadoff hitter, and stole a base.

  7. David in Toledo Says:

    I had my facts wrong with regard to the report cited in comment 5, above.

    Bobby Bragan was the Pirates's manager all year in 1956. After trying the idea once in July, on August 18 he started batting the pitcher 7th (for 20 straight games), his theory being to put his best hitter up first, 2nd best hitter second, etc. Two table-setters (the 7th and 8th best hitters, according to the theory) hit 8th and 9th. The Pirates's record in those 20 games was 8-11 and a tie, or .421. Their record with a standard batting order was .429.

  8. wboenig2 Says:

    I did some light research once in which I tried to relate a player's defensive position to the probability of him occupying each spot in the batting order. Pitchers aside, we have recently been witness to two other players who have been anomalies in their combinations of position on the field and position in the batting order. They are:

    Jason Kendall batting leadoff as a catcher: 447 times; no one else has done this more than 52 times

    Jeff Kent batting fourth as a second baseman: 1249 times; no one else has done this more than 132 times

  9. wboenig2 Says:

    I should have added that the above data was generated on this website and only goes back to 1956.

  10. David in Toledo Says:

    Very interesting, wboenig2. I assume J. Kendall's leadoff number might be higher if not for his terrible 1999 ankle break. Maybe Hornsby or Lajoie might have batted cleanup a good bit back in olden times.

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    After all, Kent is probably the best hitting 2B of all time. Thom Brennaman told me that.