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Pirates plan to bat the pitcher eighth this season

Mar 29, 2010, 2:32 PM EDT

Pirates manager John Russell revealed today that he plans to bat the pitcher eighth in the lineup for most games this season, with shortstop Ronny Cedeno or his backup Bobby Crosby hitting ninth.
Some lineup simulations have shown that the pitcher batting eighth rather than ninth can indeed lead to more runs, as having a position player in the last spot gives the top of the batting order more runners to drive in.
The down side is that by hitting eighth the pitcher will come to the plate more often and closer to the lineup’s most potent threats, potentially halting more rallies in progress.
Russell follows in the footsteps of Tony La Russa and Ned Yost, both of whom batted the pitcher eighth frequently in recent years.
In this case the goal is to create more RBI chances for Andrew McCutchen, which is also why Russell announced that he’ll hit second in the lineup this season after exclusively leading off as a rookie last year. Akinori Iwamura will replace him atop the lineup.

  1. BC - Mar 29, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    In related news, Mets manager Jerry Manuel announced plans to bat the pitcher second this year. “It’ll give us more opportunities to bunt Reyes over, and it’ll get the pitcher out of the way”.

  2. Ryan - Mar 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Good idea, I’ve often thought to myself that the only thing separating the Pirates from a World Series championship was all the outs the pitcher was making in the 9-hole.

  3. Jamie - Mar 29, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    I think teams should always bat their worst hitter ninth, so I’m in complete agreement with this decision.

  4. Jack Meoffer - Mar 29, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    The Mets also announced the pitcher can only bat 8th if he is of hispanic origin. It seems to be the requirement for almost all things being at Met these days. Minaya has no idea how he has alienated his fan base by refusing to sign the best players but instead of mostly Latin American background.

  5. scatterbrian - Mar 29, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Jason Bahia was the signing of the winter Jack.

  6. Doug - Mar 29, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    This is another instance of managers pretending they are smarter than they actually are (Tony LaRussa anyone?)and everyone puckering up to pretend that they are geniuses when they try something like this (Joe Buck and the entire city of St. Louis anyone?) – anyway, a few years back one of the statistics based websites ran computer simulations of seasons with the PITCHER batting cleanup and continually it would only cost a team 2- 3 wins per year. Which basically means that it is not BATTING ORDER that actually matters but the BATTERS themselves.

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