PDA

View Full Version : What is the difference between a DH and a pinch hitter?


newcrasher
07-24-2009, 09:31 PM
I am at the Nat's game and my wife asked me...

Ace309
07-24-2009, 09:38 PM
The DH in the American League bats for the pitcher EVERY time. He's "designated" to hit in the pitcher's place.

A pinch hitter only bats ONCE, and then either is removed from the game or stays in to replace the player he hit for. He's used "in a pinch" to hit for a player, usually the pitcher, to provide an offensive boost.

Tim R. Mortiss
07-24-2009, 09:40 PM
A pinch hitter is put into a game for a single at-bat, replacing another player in the line-up. Chances are he'll be yanked before taking the field or coming up to bat again. A DH is a regular man in the line-up who bats for the pitcher.

I think. I'm not exactly a sports maven......TRM

Damn, he slipped it in ahead of me!

Colibri
07-24-2009, 09:48 PM
Moved to The Game Room from GQ.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

running coach
07-24-2009, 09:59 PM
The DH in the American League bats for the pitcher EVERY time. He's "designated" to hit in the pitcher's place.

A pinch hitter only bats ONCE, and then either is removed from the game or stays in to replace the player he hit for. He's used "in a pinch" to hit for a player, usually the pitcher, to provide an offensive boost.

A pinch hitter is put into a game for a single at-bat, replacing another player in the line-up. Chances are he'll be yanked before taking the field or coming up to bat again. A DH is a regular man in the line-up who bats for the pitcher.

I think. I'm not exactly a sports maven......TRM

Damn, he slipped it in ahead of me!

And to clarify, the DH does not play in the field. Thus the DH position has become a haven for aging sluggers who can still hit but are not able to play a full game anymore or who's fielding has dropped below acceptable levels.

Notassmartasithought
07-24-2009, 11:06 PM
Just a nit to pick--

The DH can hit for any of the nine players on the "fielding" team, not only the pitcher. Had there been a DH rule when Babe Ruth was a pitcher, the DH might have hit for the 2nd baseman, or any other position player.

jtgain
07-24-2009, 11:20 PM
Just a nit to pick--

The DH can hit for any of the nine players on the "fielding" team, not only the pitcher. Had there been a DH rule when Babe Ruth was a pitcher, the DH might have hit for the 2nd baseman, or any other position player.

I don't believe that this is true. I'll have to check my rulebook, but I believe the rule states that the DH will hit only for the pitcher.

Chronos
07-24-2009, 11:31 PM
Note that to bring in a pinch-hitter for a pitcher (or other player), you generally need to take take that player out for the remainder of the game (I think there are some shenanigans the manager can pull to get around this, but they're complicated and have their own downsides). So if your pitcher is doing a really great job on the mound, or you don't have very many more pitchers available in the bullpen (where the pitchers who aren't in the game yet stay warmed up), then you probably just want to accept one at-bat of lousy hitting rather than replacing him with a pinch-hitter.

Ace309
07-24-2009, 11:38 PM
Just a nit to pick--

The DH can hit for any of the nine players on the "fielding" team, not only the pitcher. Had there been a DH rule when Babe Ruth was a pitcher, the DH might have hit for the 2nd baseman, or any other position player.

That's true in high school and there are complications in college allowing for a pitcher to be his own DH and stay in the game after being taken off the mound, but rule 6.10(b) of the MLB rules specifies that the DH can only hit for the pitcher.

kaylasdad99
07-25-2009, 12:04 AM
A DH (Designated Hitter) is used in a somewhat baseball-esque activity that some people call baseball.* A pinch hitter can be also used in this game, and also in the actual game of baseball.

More bluntly, a DH is an abomination and a pinch hitter is not. For ease of identification, if you don't get a sharp whiff of brimstone off the player, he's a pinch hitter.








* (AIUI these are probably the same people who call boneless chicken chunks cooked in garlic butter "Scampi" (http://www.olivegarden.com/menus/menu/Default.asp?server_path=/menus/dinner/chicken/)).

Chronos
07-25-2009, 12:43 AM
A DH (Designated Hitter) is used in a somewhat baseball-esque activity that some people call baseball.* A pinch hitter can be also used in this game, and also in the actual game of baseball.While I agree that the idea of the designated hitter is contrary to the spirit of baseball, I think that the shenanigans they go through in the National League to get the same effect are even more contrary to the spirit of baseball. So I'll accept the DH as the lesser of two evils.

To clarify for anyone who doesn't know, Major League Baseball is composed of two separate leagues, the American League and the National League. The two leagues have slightly different rules, most evident in the fact that the AL allows the designated hitter, while the NL does not.

ftg
07-25-2009, 08:15 AM
The DH in the American League bats for the pitcher EVERY time. He's "designated" to hit in the pitcher's place.

Every once in a while, depending on the phase of the moon, an AL manager will goof up substitutions and the pitcher will have to bat for himself. The DH rule on this is sufficiently complex that it makes the infield fly rule look simple by comparison.

Fiddle Peghead
07-25-2009, 02:15 PM
While I agree that the idea of the designated hitter is contrary to the spirit of baseball, I think that the shenanigans they go through in the National League to get the same effect are even more contrary to the spirit of baseball. So I'll accept the DH as the lesser of two evils.



What shenanigans?

ShibbOleth
07-25-2009, 02:28 PM
About five million dollars a year.

Ace309
07-25-2009, 04:20 PM
Every once in a while, depending on the phase of the moon, an AL manager will goof up substitutions and the pitcher will have to bat for himself. The DH rule on this is sufficiently complex that it makes the infield fly rule look simple by comparison.

You saw this a couple of times in the early part of the decade with the New York Yankees and their thin bench. Bernie Williams, who was a perfectly acceptable center fielder, would often play DH. Occasionally, one of the corner fielders (people like Hideki Matsui would be lifted for a pinch runner* and Bernie would be part of a defensive substitution.

*If a slow runner is on base, you can remove him from the game permanently to let someone else run for him. Then, the pinch runner either has to come in defensively or be replaced himself with a defensive player.

RickJay
07-25-2009, 05:49 PM
The DH rule on this is sufficiently complex that it makes the infield fly rule look simple by comparison.
It's not really that complicated.

1. You can replace the DH with another DH.
2. The DH can switch to playing a fielding position but then you don't have a DH anymore.
3. If the PITCHER switches to playing a defensive position, you don't get to have a DH anymore.
4. If a player who is already playing a defensive position begins pitching, you don't get to have a DH anymore.
5. No matter what happens, the DH's spot in the batting order never changes. If you lose the right to use a DH the pitcher is hitting in that spot.

Like the infield fly rule, it's perhaps easiest to understand the rule if you think about WHY it is written the way it is. The gist is that you cannot monkey with the lineup to exploit the DH rule to get hitters in and out of the lineup. The DH can only hit for the pitcher, period.

slitterst
07-26-2009, 08:09 PM
To clarify for anyone who doesn't know, Major League Baseball is composed of two separate leagues, the American League and the National League. The two leagues have slightly different rules, most evident in the fact that the AL allows the designated hitter, while the NL does not.

Slight nitpick here, the rules are the same for all MLB teams. However, the DH rule is optional. The American League chooses to exercise the option, while the National League does not.

There was a notable game this season where the Rays manager (an AL team) screwed up his line-up card that he handed over to the umpire at the start of the game. Since he had listed the same player twice, (that's a no-no), he lost the ability to use the DH that game.

Freddy the Pig
07-26-2009, 08:20 PM
When the DH was being discussed in the early 1970's, the position was often described as "a permanent pinch-hitter for the pitcher", or "designated pinch hitter" for short. By the time the rule entered the rule book, however, it was recognized that "permanent pinch-hitter" was an oxymoron, and that DH at-bats wouldn't count as PH at-bats except in the case where one DH batted for another.

Bijou Drains
07-26-2009, 08:27 PM
Why does baseball have 2 sets of rules? I don't know of any other pro sport that works that way.

A few years ago baseball got rid of the AL and NL presidents and now the umpires are merged as well. So why do they insist on 2 sets of rules?

ElvisL1ves
07-26-2009, 08:37 PM
There's Rugby Union and Rugby League, too ...

There used to be other differences between leagues, such as differing umpire positions (the NL ones looked over the catcher's inside shoulder, the AL ones over his head) and curfew times, but those have disappeared along with the league president's offices.

I think it was expected that the DH rule would either be made permanent for both leagues, or dropped, depending on how well it worked and was accepted in the AL. Remarkably, it's still a subject of strong debate after 36 years, so it still hasn't been standardized.

RickJay
07-26-2009, 11:51 PM
Why does baseball have 2 sets of rules? I don't know of any other pro sport that works that way.

A few years ago baseball got rid of the AL and NL presidents and now the umpires are merged as well. So why do they insist on 2 sets of rules?
The straightforward answer is that it's tradition. Baseball started as two leagues, and althought it has changed into one league in terms of organization and administration, it remains an important marketing point to differentiate between the two "leagues." It matters to the fans, so MLB makes it so.

Chronos
07-27-2009, 01:04 AM
Another point, by the way: NL and AL teams occasionally play each other, in exhibition games or in the World Series. In each game, the home team's rules are used, meaning that sometimes an AL team doesn't get to use a DH, or an NL team does get to. In such cases, a player primarily kept for use as a pinch hitter will be assigned as the DH, or vice-versa, so in that sense, they're interchangeable.

Baseball also has the oddity, compared to many sports, that ground rules are common. I don't think there are any two ballparks with exactly the same dimensions, and there are also sometimes ground rules about things like how the stadium infrastructure affects whether a ball is fair or foul.

Telemark
07-27-2009, 07:14 AM
Another point, by the way: NL and AL teams occasionally play each other, in exhibition games or in the World Series.

Plus 15 or 18 interleague games per year.

Bijou Drains
07-27-2009, 12:24 PM
I thought a lot of the old time "purist" fans don't like the DH.

It also leads to a big change in strategy since teams no longer have to pull a pitcher for a pinch hitter. The pitching changes have nothing to do with batting in the AL. (except maybe in rare cases)

Flymaster
07-27-2009, 01:11 PM
It's not really that complicated.

1. You can replace the DH with another DH.
2. The DH can switch to playing a fielding position but then you don't have a DH anymore.
3. If the PITCHER switches to playing a defensive position, you don't get to have a DH anymore.
4. If a player who is already playing a defensive position begins pitching, you don't get to have a DH anymore.
5. No matter what happens, the DH's spot in the batting order never changes. If you lose the right to use a DH the pitcher is hitting in that spot.

Like the infield fly rule, it's perhaps easiest to understand the rule if you think about WHY it is written the way it is. The gist is that you cannot monkey with the lineup to exploit the DH rule to get hitters in and out of the lineup. The DH can only hit for the pitcher, period.

You were doing so well until the end of number 5. Anyone can hit in that spot. If the pitcher moves to right field, the new pitcher comes in to the game in the RF's lineup position. The original pitcher, now RF, bats in the DH's spot, while the pitcher bats in the RF's spot. So a team can lose the DH and a pitcher will never be in the DH's lineup slot.

ElvisL1ves
07-27-2009, 03:03 PM
Be gentle. Longtime AL fans tend to forget how the double switch works. :D

RickJay
07-27-2009, 03:05 PM
You were doing so well until the end of number 5. Anyone can hit in that spot. If the pitcher moves to right field, the new pitcher comes in to the game in the RF's lineup position. The original pitcher, now RF, bats in the DH's spot, while the pitcher bats in the RF's spot. So a team can lose the DH and a pitcher will never be in the DH's lineup slot.
Ah yes, you are right. The relevant rule is:

Once the game pitcher is switched from the mound to a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

So it appears in this case the (new) pitcher would be batting elsewhere, since he would, by necessity, be replacing the right fielder.

Flymaster
07-27-2009, 03:31 PM
Ah yes, you are right. The relevant rule is:

Once the game pitcher is switched from the mound to a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

So it appears in this case the (new) pitcher would be batting elsewhere, since he would, by necessity, be replacing the right fielder.

Right. In fact, it doesn't even take a double switch. The pitcher will very RARELY bat in the DH's spot in the order, even if you lose the DH in a conventional way.

CF
3B
1B
DH
LF
RF
SS
2B
C

That's your lineup.

Your catcher gets hurt, but your DH is your backup C. DH moves to Catcher, your new batting order is:

CF
3B
1B
C
LF
RF
SS
2B
P

The actual physical human being that is your DH can never move in the batting order, and the letters DH can never move in the batting order. But when you lose the DH, the letter P will very rarely overwrite the letter DH in the batting order. This generally only happens when a manager screws up and writes in 1B twice on his official lineup card, and DH on his own reference card. Then the P will start the game batting in place of the theoretical, but unofficial, DH on the manager's personal lineup card.

BigT
07-28-2009, 01:37 AM
What shenanigans?

I also want to know the answer to this. I'm unfamiliar with what the NL does.

Chronos
07-28-2009, 03:40 AM
What shenanigans?In short, any of the substitutions or lineup-changes intended to cause the pitcher to bat less. I wouldn't have a hope of remembering how most of them work, but I know I've seen some pretty complicated ones.

mhendo
07-28-2009, 04:05 AM
There's Rugby Union and Rugby League, too ...Well, yes, but those are two completely different games, unlike the AL and the NL.

It's not like Major League Baseball, where the two leagues sometimes play each other, and where the winners of each meet in the final series at the end of the year. Rugby league teams only play other rugby league teams, and the same applies to union.

While individual players do switch from one code to the other (and sometimes back again), the rules are very different. And the most obvious difference, so fundamental that even someone who's never watched the game before would probably notice, is that each code uses a different number of players. A rugby league team fields 13 players at any one time, while a rugby union team fields 15.