Baseball question.

I’m not much of an NL watcher. And interesting situation came up in the Baltimore-Atlanta game last Saturday that led me to a question. . .

Do NL managers ever send their pitchers to the plate and tell them not to swing to avoid the potential double play ball?

Here’s the situation in the Baltimore game.

Baltimore is down 4-1, going into the 9th. Mazzilli has pulled the double swtich in the 8th, bringing in Newhan for the pitcher (Julio) and BJ Ryan (their best closer) for Bigbie who bats 5th, and was the second to last batter in the top of the 8th.

So, top 9, Baltimore has tied the game at 4. The Braves have just walked Sosa to load the bases and BJ Ryan is due up with 1 out, Chris Gomez on deck. Andruw Jones is leading off the bottom of the 9th.

The color guy says “I think you let BJ Ryan hit.”

Anyway, Geronimo Gil pinch hits for Ryan, GIDP. Bottom 9, Todd Williams gives up a homer to Andruw Jones.

Right decision to pull Ryan? Could you have sent him to the plate and told him to keep it on his shoulder?

To answer your question, I don’t have a cite, but you can be sure that a manager has done that at one time or another. Plus, it’s the ninth inning and the score’s tied. You really want your pitcher to hit or take an out?

Well, if the alternative is Geronimo Gil, then yeah, you take a risk with the pitcher. Seems hard to believe that Ryan could do much worse than a guy with a career line of .236/.281/.348. If Ryan is a good bunter, maybe try a squeeze. That’s always a thrill for the crowd.

Allow me to insert a lament about the lost art of the bunt, perhaps because it just isn’t manly enough for today’s players. This is the perfect time to do it - the pitcher is likely to make an out anyway, but he can still advance the runner. True, many if not most pitchers can never learn to hit major-league pitching reliably enough to let them try it in a real game, but dammit, anybody can learn to hold the bat still and level and “catch the ball” with it.

That’s true. Generally, though, the manager puts in a good batter in place of the Pitcher. Not sure why Gil was chosen.

I disagree. Bunting is tough, especially at the major league level. Juan Pierre, one of the best in the game at it, has to practice constantly.

They didn’t have much on the bench.

They’d already brought in Newhan for Bigbie during the double switch. (not that Newhan is hitting any better than Gil). I think the O’s are carrying 12 pitchers right now and they have a few guys nicked up that they haven’t put on the DL.

Lee didn’t have much of a choice.

Funny that you should mention an example from a Braves game. Braves announcer Don Sutton frequently mentions how, when he played, that in such a situation he would just leave the bat on his shoulder and take 3 strikes and go sit down.

Now, a followup question for 20 pts:

In Monday’s Marlins-Braves game, a Marlins batter swung at a pitch (and lost his bat) and got hit by the ball. He started to walk to first but was called out on 3rd strike (making the 3rd out) and a “discussion” resulted with home plate ump. The announcers talked about a foul ball but maybe not. (There seemed to be alot of confusion in the booth.)

So the Q: Assuming no foul ball, if you swing and miss and get HBP is it a strike or a free base?

Nope, if the batter attempts to hit it, it’s a strike. Rule 6.08: “The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when…(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit…”


It just isn’t that easy. The ball still comes in 90+MPH. And in the instance noted, the bases were loaded. And he just had to hit a fly ball, not even get a hit. I would think even a bad hitting pitcher hits more decent fly balls than GIDP.

That leaves the debate on bunting, which has died more and more, both due to ego and statistical study - it reduces the total # of runs in most cases, with a slight increase in possibility of scoring ANY runs. Personally, unless the hitter really stinks (most pitchers, not all) or he can bunts AND beat it out (Pierre, the Mets Reyes also bunting more this year), I only bunt 1st and 2nd, 0 outs, unless it is the 8th or later in a very close game, where 1 run likely stands.

I was listening to the game. Later they came back and said the ball did hit the bat, but it was ruled a fair ball, and the batter (Carlos Delgado) was tagged out by the catcher.

The odds are still better than closing your eyes and swinging wildly.

Ah, okay, I overlooked that. Then it depends on the speed of the runner at third. If your team is doomed to make an out anyway, try to let a slow runner be thrown out at the plate and move a faster one up. Or, if he’s fast, let the pitcher either strike out or “swing hard in case you hit it” and take your chances he can beat it out.

True - but my point is, bunting is not all that easy. Not “anyone” can do it.

Yep. Swing the bat. Try to get a good eye at the plate and only swing at strikes, make the guy throw strikes, swing, and maybe you’ll hit the ball. Or take a walk. In one of the most famously futile batting years of all time, Bob Buhl worked out 6 walks - while going 0-for-70

(Sutton is jealous of guys that can hit - he didn’t have a HR in his 23 years. That old “Chicks dig the long ball” commercial probably burns him up… :stuck_out_tongue: