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Why would you ever hit-and-run with Pujols at the plate?

Oct 26, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT

2011 World Series Game 5 - St Louis Cardinals v Texas Rangers Getty Images

In addition to taking the blame for the bullpen phone snafu on Monday night, Tony La Russa yesterday explained the failed hit and run with Albert Pujols at bat and Allen Craig on first.  In doing so he confirmed what everyone suspected and what he himself briefly said on Monday: that Pujols has the authority to call a hit and run himself.

Which is certainly not unprecedented. As Tim McCarver noted after it happened, many players have had this ability. He mentioned Cal Ripken. Others have mentioned guys like Tony Gwynn. Some writers say that Kirk Gibson allows several members of the Diamondbacks to do it.  It’s not the sort of thing we hear much about but, yes, it’s a thing.

And here’s how La Russa explained it during his presser:

“The other thing that’s so great about it, if you stop and think about it, a great hitter like Albert, there’s situations come up in a game where the hit-and-run in the manager’s opinion is the play, and you really wonder what message you’re sending your great player when you put the hit-and-run on, because you’re kind of saying, ‘We don’t want you to swing the bat.’

“So when a guy like Albert is so receptive to playing the game right, that’s kind of why I’m so aggressive in addressing this. It’s really a humongous break for our club when a great player wants to play the game right. And that’s kind of the point I want to make.”

Here’s my problem with it: why would that ever be a good play with your big bopper at the plate? The hit and run is a one-run strategy. And practically, it’s a much safer play if you have a contact hitter at the plate. Yes, Pujols is something special and doesn’t strike out at the rate your typical power hitter does, but he’s not exactly the guy you just want putting a bat on a ball. You want him waiting for something he can drive. He’s pretty darn good at that, actually.

La Russa admits that it’s bad to send the message to a great hitter that you want to take the bat out of his hands. Yet he says that Pujols wanting to take the bat out of his own hands is “playing the game right.”  I can’t help but disagree. It seems like it’s never, ever right to do that to a guy like Pujols. And if it never makes sense to hit and run with Pujols at the plate, you have to question why he has the power to call such a play at all.

  1. paperlions - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    Playing the game right is tradition, and therefore impossible to argue against. The fact that traditional strategies compromise a team’s ability to win are irrelevant because playing the game right is more important than winning. Anyone can win, but to get respect you have to play the game the right way.

    • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:04 AM

      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:05 AM

      Just once I’d love for a reporter to grow a sack and ask the person who invokes “tradition” as justification for stupid moves if they feel minorities should not be allowed to play the game. After all, it used to be “tradition”…

    • Joe - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:32 AM

      “Playing the game right” is to winning games as “the human element” is to umpiring.

  2. stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    A.P. has been putting on his own hit and runs his entire career with out much fanfare whatsoever.
    He puts wood on the ball on a consistent basis. Look at his career strikeout records. The problem in this particular case…they aren’t giving him anything to hit so I would agree (in this particular case)….it was’nt a good idea. Also…TLR conceded that A.P. ALWAYS confers with him prior to doing so (in the dugout discussing situations, in the clubhouse prior to the game, prior to stepping in the on deck circle, etc..) For whatever reason…in this case he didn’t . Further, he said (in this particular case) had A.P. conferred with him he would have told him not to (cause’ again…they weren’t giving him anything to hit). To compound matters….A.P. calls the hit and run and inexplicably fails to swing the bat. You simply can NOT (under any circumstances) do this. He essentially hung Allen Craig out to dry. Had he swung that bat (and I don’t care how fast the pitch was or how far up and away it was) we are discussing a different topic.

    • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:06 AM

      If he wouldn’t have made a mistake and put the hit and run on we would also be talking about a different topic.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:16 AM

        No doubt about it Alex. Please see my numerous references above to it NOT being a good idea (in this particular case). The fact is though…he only compounded matters by hanging Allen Craig out to dry by not swinging. There is absolutely NO excuse for not swinging when a hit and run is on. I don’t care who calls it…you always swing. The mistake is even more glaring when you are the one who puts it on and fails to swing. I am huge A.P. fan (how can one not be?). But Allen Craig needs to have a little talk with him about this (veteran or not). My guess…they have already discussed it thoroughly.

      • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:29 AM

        With Pujols it’s almost never a good idea to hit and run. I actually can’t think of a time I would call that while he’s hitting.

      • wlschneider09 - Oct 26, 2011 at 4:09 PM

        “You simply can NOT (under any circumstances) do this. He essentially hung Allen Craig out to dry. Had he swung that bat (and I don’t care how fast the pitch was or how far up and away it was) we are discussing a different topic.”

        But the pitch was unhittable, it was pretty damn near a pitchout. He could have swung, it would not have prevented Craig getting thrown out, it would have just resulted in a strike instead of a ball. Major league catchers are well beyond being distracted by someone swinging at a pitch they can’t make contact with. He swings, he misses Craig gets thrown out. He doesn’t swing, Craig gets thrown out. This wasn’t his crime.

        I guess I don’t have as big of an issue with AP calling his own hit and run either. It was a favorable count, if I remember correctly. AP can handle the bat and hitting behind a hitter isn’t like a sacrifice bunt. He’s not taking the bat out of his own hands.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        I hear what you are saying Schneider. But I don’t care where it was…or how fast it is. You never…never…never take a pitch on a hit and run (even more glaring when you are the one who calls the hit and run). We learn this when they start teaching the hit and run. Again though…I fully understand your point about the pitch location.
        #1 rule when hitting and running…always swing the bat.

    • paperlions - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:09 AM

      No matter how long he has been doing it, it is still a dumb play….and for your continued long posts about this fact, you seem to be ignoring the fact that when Pujols is up the runners NEVER EVER TRY TO STEAL…they don’t do this because 1) it would be a dumb move and 2) even if he could call his own hit and runs, he doesn’t do it, ever…because no one is ever running when he’s up.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        Stealing? You are absolutely correct. All that does is potentially take the bat out of his hands should the runner be caught stealing…very similar to game #5 when he had a dumbass attack and failed to swing. Stealing with him in the box is foolish (as a rule) because all it does is open up first base. And you are flat wrong about him calling his own hit and runs. He has been doing it since he has been in the big leagues. That is why the second hit and run attempt should have been obvious to anyone who closely follows the Cardinals. When you hit into 450 double plays (breaking your own NL record)…it kind of makes one want to start the runners as it tends to open up holes. Your feeble attempt at a second “point” indicates you don’t follow the team much during the regular season (if at all).

    • wlschneider09 - Oct 27, 2011 at 8:22 AM

      Gonna have to disagree. Tradition, the same tradition that tells us sacrifice bunts are a great idea, says that you HAVE to swing on a hit and run. Bottom line, if the pitch is so far outside swinging doesn’t matter.

      The mistake here is the hit and run call, and that’s a pretty honest mistake. AP looks at the situation, thinks “they need to throw me a strike with this count, it’s probably coming in low, let’s get the runner moving and avoid a double play”. But he’s just wrong, which is the chance you take if you call a hit and run. Sure everyone’s been taught since little league to swing the bat on a hit and run, but in this case it just wouldn’t have made a bit of difference. So why do we insist that he follows tradition here for no good reason?

      • wlschneider09 - Oct 27, 2011 at 8:23 AM

        oops, this was a response to the earlier Stl1 thread.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        We both know however…the #1 rule is you always swing the bat in a hit and run. AP’s problem was the pitch was not thrown where Napoli sat up. Had he hit his mark…the pitch was in a perfect spot (right where AP was wanting it). Unfortunately, it was was high and away (they covered it again last night on the MLB network). Harry Reynolds did a great job of covering it in depth. But fair enough…Scnhneider. We don’t have to agree. That is the fun part of a debate and/or conversation. I love talking baseball and getting other people’s perspectives.
        Just remind me though…the next time I am on 1st and you are in the box…I am going have to tell the Skipper to NOT (under ANY circumstances) hit and run with you. I don’t want to be hung out the dry by you being too worried about your strike count to swing. LOL!

  3. easports82 - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    I have no problem with Pujols getting/calling hit-and-runs. First off, he’s not going to hit a HR every AB. Bonds had a career rate of 1 every 12.3AB; 6.52AB when he hit 73. Second, he’s a great contact hitter. You’d need to look up the pitchFx, but I’d be willing to be he gets pitched away more often with runners on. That being the case, starting the runner to open the right side to ensure a hit and get the lead runner to third? Third, how would this be taking the bat out of his hands? His objective is to get on base and move the runners along. It’s not like he’s being told to lay down a bunt.

    Change the perspective and view home runs as an accident. Rarely does going up to the plate and saying “I’m going to hit a HR” result positively. Most approach ABs as trying to make solid contact and find a gap. Given that context, there shouldn’t be any problem with hit-and-runs for anyone that gets the bat on the ball with great consistency, regardless of if they can hit it 500 feet or not.

    • Joe - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:37 AM

      The problem with this logic is that the reason Albert is such a good hitter is because he swings at pitches he can handle and crushes them. The hit and run requires you to swing at whatever the pitcher offers, which very often results in poor contact or a swing-and-miss. You’re not always going to make solid contact on a H&R, much less so than you would if you wait for a pitch you like. Or, if you fail to swing, your baserunner gets eliminated.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:43 AM

        Absolutely Joe. That is why you always swing when the hit and run is on. You learn this as a baseball player the moment your coach starts teaching the hit and run. Unbelievable. I love the guy…but SWING THE BAT!

      • easports82 - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM

        H&R don’t require solid contact; that’s the beauty. Open up a whole with the runner in motion and a routine grounder to the right side (or left depending on the defense) creates a first and third situation instead of a double play. Just because you hit the ball hard, doesn’t mean you can get the best result.

      • clydeserra - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        why swing at pitch you are going to make bad contact with? Best case scenario is a weakly hit ball to the hole that opened up (a hole in the least likely place Pujols will hit the ball). Then all the other possibilities, line out pop out DP grounder are just as likely.

        Why not have Pujols wait for a pitch he can drive?

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:41 AM

      You are exactly right EA: A.P. will tell you he is a line drive hitter who happens to hit the long ball over the fence every now and then. Those are his words. I have seen him interviewed on it quite often. He actually gets upset when people try to label him a Homerun hitter. People have no idea how little the man strikes out. He (and a very few others) are sort of freaks of nature when it comes to strikeout rates. Your point about them pitching him away is also spot on. It (along with hitting and running) opens up holes. The more I read some posts the more I wonder if people ever actually watch him (other than MLB and Baseall Tonight highlites).

    • gostlcards5 - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      Absolutely correct…

      Using Pujols to hit-and-run is not a bad play, because he is a great contact/line drive hitter with occasional power.

      More, I agree with stl1, the biggest problem is that if he’s going to call the hit-and-run, he has to swing the bat. Priority #1 in hit-and-run is to open up a hole, so that if you hit the ball, you have a better chance to find a hole. But, Priority #2 is that if you don’t hit the ball, you are PROTECTING THE BASERUNNER.

      (sorry for the caps…had to emphasize it)

    • The Baseball Idiot - Oct 26, 2011 at 5:12 PM

      Finally, someone who actually understands what a hit and run is, and not someone who’s just pissing and moaning to go with the crowd.

      Pujols, much like every other hitter, hits more singles than any other hit. First and third will happen much more often than a homerun.

      As far as the ‘experts’ complaining about ‘tradition’, the reason it’s ‘tradition’ is because it’s been proven time and time again that it works.Much like the sacrifice, squeeze play, stolen base, intentional walks, pitch outs, and the hidden ball trick. It’s also been proven time and time again that each of those plays fail. In a game where 40% is outstanding.

      What the hell do you people want?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        Yep….what he said. Good post TBI!

  4. Jonny 5 - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    They were either going to walk him, or give him pitches to hit. Either way a hit and run makes no sense with Sir Albert at the plate. The 4 fingers went up as soon the out was made at second. I just shook my head and laughed actually.. It was a boneheaded move if there ever was.

  5. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    I didn’t watch the first 7 innings of the game so I can’t comment on the first hit and run. However, the hit and run in the 9th was one of the stupidest baseball plays I have seen in quite some time. Feliz was wild to start with and Albert looked like he expanded his strike zone, clearly swinging at ball 4. My guess is he doesn’t swing at that pitch if Craig isn’t on the move. Also, it was a two run game…getting Craig to 3rd on a single is virtually meaningless in that situation. I just didn’t understand that play no matter who called for it. Just not smart.

    • Mark - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      Had he just taken ball 4 they would have had 1st & 2nd nobody out. Instead, he swung and miss, struck out, and had the guy thrown out at second. They went from having a huge comeback opportunity to being one out away from being down 3-2 in the series.

      The hit and run in the ninth was just awful. Not that the earlier one was any better.

      Outside of his 3 HR game it’s been a terrible series for Pujols.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Mark: Shhhhh…we don’t want to discuss the fact that the 1st hit and run was a catastrophe as a result of him swinging at ball FOUR (easily 6” off the plate as they illustrated AND commented on during the telecast). And you are absolutely right…no excuse whatsoever for him NOT swinging on the 2nd one. SWING THE BAT!!!!!!!!!

      • The Baseball Idiot - Oct 26, 2011 at 5:20 PM

        First and third is much worse than first and second. Also, a gapper that scores the runner and leaves Pujols on second is much worse than first and second. I’m glad we’ve established that point.

        I agree that it wasn’t the best idea. But it happened. Unless someone is going to go back over the season and Pujol’s career and give us a breakdown of how many times it’s worked vs how many times its failed, then I’m not really sure why we’re discussing it so much. In today’s world of sabermetrics, shouldn’t one of you naysayers have done this already to prove how much smarter you are?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

        TBI: Your killing it this evening Man! Some people have no idea of the type of hitter he is. There is a very good reason he is widely considered one of (if not THE best) Right Handed Hitters of all time. But with his career numbers…I would even give you both sides of the plate. As I stated previously…99% of the hitters of his caliber go all “prima dona” on you if you even discuss the hit and run with them. A.P. actually relishes it. Was it smart in this situation? NO. But that isn’t the topic of this particular article either.

  6. Francisco (FC) - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    The baseball season is coming to an end. The World Series is about to conclude. If only his weather control device would stop malfunctioning! Can’t have a game six rain-out. He tinkered with it as best he could but it was out of his hands now. Pushing his specs up the bridge of his nose, bubble pipe in one hand, the other adjusting the collar of his Braves Bathrobe, he sat on his high chair and pressed a button that would sift through the morning baseball news and present a digest on his 70″ LED screen. Somewhere there was a picture of C.C. Sabathia wearing a Red Sox uniform which produced a lighthearted chuckle.

    That’s when he noticed a bobble head figure on side table. Albert Pujols with a wolfish grin and a tag declaring: I can hit AND run baby! Craig rolled his eyes and started lecturing the doll.

    “Albert, you are a power hitter, your strength is pitch selection and driving the ball for extra base hits, not this small ball technique that is beneath you. Why on Earth LaRussa allows you to call for an H&R is beyond my ken. What’s next? Bunting? You pompous Jackass!”

  7. robmoore - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    Albert hits into a bunch of double plays, IIRC. Hitting and running can get you out of some of those outs.

  8. paperlions - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    I would just like to point out that Pujols does not “play the game the right way” within this context (he also never hustles down the line on ground balls, neither does Molina, apparently the need to play the right way is only applied to certain players).

    A hit and run REQUIRES that the hitter swing to “protect the runner” because they are often called when runners are not fast or good at stealing bases, as was the case here. It is not a “run and I’ll swing if I get a pitch to my liking” play…it is the HIT and RUN. Pujols called his own hit and run and then didn’t swing, which is a horrible violation of “playing the right way”. A rookie would get an ass chewing for doing that.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      A rookie would get an ass chewing for doing that.

      Because it’s Pujols all he gets is chewing gum and a “We’ll get them next time” pat on the back.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        Pretty much FC….pretty much.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      Finally…your last two sentences are dead on. Thank you. SWING THE BAT!

      • paperlions - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        My posts are always dead on, but you only recognize the fact if I use “tradition-speak”.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Oct 26, 2011 at 5:26 PM

      No. Wrong. Not even close.

      On a stolen base attempt, the batter is supposed to swing at anything to protect the runner.

      On a hit and run attempt, the batter swings to make contact with the ball to do many different things. Drive it to the hole, avoid the double play, or catch the fielders out of position. The batter is NOT required to just swing to protect the runner on a hit and run. That would be stupid. Because it’s not what a hit and run is for. If the batter grounds out, no double play. No harm, no foul.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:14 PM

        Where have you been all day? Man…everyone is jumping on the ole’ “Hatetrain” again.

  9. ermur22 - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Why would he call the hit and run and not swing????? He obviously should not have the authority to make that call

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      Hahaha! Dead on….according to YOU. And for the record…traditions ASS.

  10. spudchukar - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    The situation dictates the approach. And the hit and run is not a one-run strategy. Many teams employ a semi-shift vs Albert, with the second-baseman playing near the bag, leaving a huge gap between first base where the runner is being held and second base where the over shifted second baseman resides. Most teams pitch Albert with fastballs in off the plate, or breaking balls down and away. If the situation warrants, and Albert being the intelligent player that he is believes he can either inside out the fastball in, or take the breaking ball the other way he is given the responsibility of calling the hit and run himself. This tends to make the opposition respect his ability to do this and play more straight up. By choosing the hit and run strategy early in games, (when the Cards almost always employ this option) it also allows Pujols to set pitchers up for later in the game when they may be reluctant to go back to a pitch that he has drilled in the gap for a double. The hit and run also can lead to big innings. Even the best hitters are only successful 1/3 of the time as for the home run only about 1/15 of the time. Always sitting back and hoping for the big blast is a losers game, one that both TLR, and Pujols recognize. It also forces the hitter to wait longer and in doing so improves one’s stroke. Many times when Pujols gets in the habit of pulling out too early and grounding out to the left side, which in hit and run situations also can mean grounding into a double play, getting him to stroke the ball to right is the perfect remedy and is also an indication that he is seeing the ball well, and history would show that is when he is the most dangerous.’

    Unfortunately, Craig, PL, et al this game is more complicated than you want to believe. A lot more thought goes into a variety of strategies. It does not fit neatly into your statistical box. Thinking outside the box, even when you are in the box, is a rare quality, that only a handful of players can manage, and it is what makes this game so beautiful, and watching Pujols and LaRussa execute it perfectly only makes it more so.

    • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      There is no need to make things more complicated. Hitters should keep the approach that gives them the best results. For Pujols, it is waiting on a pitch he likes and hitting it hard.

      • spudchukar - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM

        Wrong.

      • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        Why? Why do you think hitters should get away from doing what they do best?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        It may and does “make things more complicated” for most hitters. He (once again) is one of the very rare individuals who consistantly puts wood on the ball (i.e. low strike out rate on a yearly basis) while also being able to launch 500′ bombs OR Frozen Ropes between the 8 and 9 hole while….waite for it….waite for it…waite for it…hitting behind the runner on 1st.

      • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        You didn’t answer the question. Why would you want your best hitter changing his approach?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        That’s just it Alex….he DOESN’T change his approach. He never…never…never changes his approach. The great one’s don’t have too. Any change(s) that may or may not take place comes in the form of minor adjustments…typically with regards to pitch selection and batting stance as it pertains to each individual count.

      • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        The hit and run changes a guys approach. So why would you ever call the hit and run with Pujols? He is going to be forced to swing at piches that he wouldn’t during a normal AB to protect the runner.

        How is that not making the game more complicated than it should be?

      • clydeserra - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        Stl: Does pujols ALWAYS swing at pitches?

      • The Baseball Idiot - Oct 26, 2011 at 5:30 PM

        So you’re saying Pujols only swings hard on some pitches, and slacks off on hit and runs and doesn’t try to hit the ball hard?

      • Alex K - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:38 PM

        That’s not even close to what I’m saying. I’m saying Pujols is more likely to swing at a pitch that he wouldn’t normally swing at because the hit and run is on.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      Finally….wow. “A lot more thought goes into a variety of strategies. It does not fit neatly into your statistical box. Thinking outside the box, even when you are in the box, is a rare quality, that only a handful of players can manage, and it is what makes this game so beautiful, and watching Pujols and LaRussa execute it perfectly only makes it more so.”

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        Clyde: Not sure I am following you. Does he always swing at pitches? No. As a result, his strikeout numbers are incredibly impressive (and has been his entire career). I highly recommend those not aware of it take a look for themselves. Impressive…impressive pitch selection and discipline. Even more impressive (and even more rare)…a hitter such as him being so willing…even eager…to hit and run so often. Rare…rare…talent.

      • clydeserra - Oct 26, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        So, if he doesn’t swing at all pitches and he is a good hitter, why force him to swing at a pitch he wouldn’t otherwise so as to not lose 33% of the outs you are allowed in an inning?

        Also, I don’t know for a fact, but I would guess he doesn’t change his batting stance because of the count.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        Clyde: He absolutely will change his batting stance to adjust according to the particular count. The good ones do. For example…w/ a 2 strike count they tend to spread their legs a little more (some even crouch a little more) to get to those low…outside corner pitches (among others). It’s called “plate coverage.”

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:27 PM

        Clyde: Your hitters who tend to make contact (this would include A.P) are ALWAYS the ones you have hit and run. You simply don’t do it with those that have strikeout tendencies as you risk the strike em’ out throw em’ out double play (like the 1st time when AP inexplicably swung at ball FOUR which was 4” off the plate). But make no mistake…that is why he is so special…he loves it. He told TLR from day #1…hit and run with me. It does.’t bother me one bit. He has the green light to do so. The only difference this time was…he failed to discuss it with TLR prior to doing so. TLR said as much in one of the interviews. And again…just to reiterate….you can take it to the bank. Good hitters will absolutely make minor adjustments to their batting stance for plate coverage.

  11. shogun69 - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    The 9th inning hit and run was just stupid. One on, no outs. The H&R forces the batter to swing at pitches that might be balls, to protect the runner. In that situation I want Pujols to be concentrating on one thing, and thats swinging at a pitch he likes, not forced to swing to protect the runner. Yes theres a chance at a double play, but theres that same chance with a slower runner in a strike out/throw out, which is what happened. He should be choosing his pitch, and if he walks, then its game winning run at the plate with Holiday, then Berkman coming up. Strike out, then its one out with Holiday and Berkman. This was as bad as hitting into a double play, and it reduced his chances of hitting a good pitch. I couldn’t believe it even as I watched it.

    • spudchukar - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      Employing it in this situation is rare, and quite possibly poor choice. A couple of caveats though. The Cards, (and Pujols in particular), may feel like either he will not get any good pitches to hit, or that this particular pitcher isn’t one the Albert can take deep. Holliday has been struggling, so that might have played into the decision. Feliz was on the mound, and maybe Pujols wasn’t confident he could or would be able to turn on his fastball and was most likely to see all sliders away.

      I do not defend all choices, and found this one to be suspect. But more thought goes into these decisions than meets the eye. And hindsight does have the tendency to be 20/20.

      One last note, the headline here read, ‘Why would you ever have Pujols hit and run.’, and there are many good reasons, even if this wasn’t a particularly optimal time.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      I agree Shogun. Not a good idea in that situation. Which is also why I wish he would have discussed it with TLR ahead of time (like he always does). They conceded he didn’t do this time (for whatever reason). No wise. They were giving him absolutely nothing to hit. TLR said he would have advised against for this very reason…in addtion to it being so late in the game. And he compounds matters by NOT swinging. I don’t know that I will ever forget this one. Hard to believe with a player as smart as A.P..

  12. astrozac - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    You all must not have seen many Cardinal games this year. The rate they hit into double plays, I can’t argue much for trying a hit and run.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Astro: Really? Just the opposite (I watch them play all the time…if not in person then on TV). They hit into so many double plays that’s precisely WHY they hit and run so often. They led the NL in Avg. Hits, Runs, Slugging Percentage, On Base Percentange AND fewest Strikeouts. This means they put the ball in play on a consistent basis and have guys on regularly. Couple this with the fact they have A.P., Lance, Holliday, Freese and Yadi in the middle of the lineup (all of which are not the most fleet footed individuals to put it mildly). Therefore, they hit and run to get the runners moving AND open up holes in the infield.

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