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Pirates bench shortstop Clint Barmes for Game 2

Oct 4, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

Clint Barmes was the Pirates’ primary shortstop this season, but after going 0-for-2 with an error against the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS manager Clint Hurdle has decided to bench him for Game 2.

Jordy Mercer will start at shortstop, which is definitely an offense-for-defense swap. Mercer hit .285 with eight homers and a .772 OPS in 365 plate appearances this season while seeing action at shortstop and second base. Barmes, meanwhile, hit just .211 with a .558 OPS and was more or less just as bad for the Pirates last year too.

Meanwhile, just two days ago Hurdle talked about the importance of sticking with Barmes despite his lack of offensive production, telling Tom Singer of MLB.com:

For us older men, we always talked about the strength of the ball club being up the middle with your catcher, your second baseman, your shortstop and your center fielder. He’s given us that opportunity to be stronger. … Barmes has been an impact defender for us. Those that have watched our club throughout the season, there’s games when he makes plays that nobody else we have can make.

And one game later, Hurdle has benched Barmes.

  1. spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Hurray! Barmes has been killing the Cards this year, and has way more range than Mercer. Now those sharply hit grounders will make it into the outfield rather than turned into a DP, by the vastly superior Barmes.

  2. Matt Bandi - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Not really a benching. Mercer and Barmes have been splitting time at shortstop pretty evenly since at least June.

  3. senioreditor2 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Panic after game 1….bye bye Pirates

  4. penzfan329 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Mercer is an upgrade at the plate for sure. Barmes is a guaranteed out most of the time. His fielding is better but not necessarily a difference maker. They have been splitting alot of time this year already so idk why this is really an issue

    • paperlions - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      In one game, the same can be said of offense. Barmes could easily be the better offensive player in one game compared to Mercer, whereas the best defensively you can hope for is that there aren’t any balls hit that Barmes would get to that Mercer won’t. Barmes is among the best defensive SS in the majors, Mercer is among the worst.

      This change is similar to the Cardinals playing Descalso (who is a horrible defender at SS, but can hit from time to time) over Kozma (who can’t hit at all, but is a good defender).

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      Not necessarily a difference maker? Dude is one of the best defensive Shortstops in all of baseball.

  5. Cran Boy - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Burnett’s an extreme ground ball pitcher – 2.30 GB/FB ration this year. Cole’s at 1.88 GB/FB, still well above the league average of 1.38, but presumably enough of a difference that having a top-flight glove at short isn’t as important when Cole’s on the mound than Burnett.

    • Cran Boy - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      *ratio

      • spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        Your point would be more salient if the Cards were the Braves, and were fly-ball hitters. But they aren’t. No guarantees here, but the Red Birds struggle against soft-tossing lefties, not hard throwing righties.

  6. e5tolife - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    And yet his fielding percentage is barely higher than mercer’s this year and his range factor is lower. Weird.

  7. e5tolife - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    That first run is a direct result of Barmes not playing. No one intentionally walks Barmes to get to cole (cole’s batting average might actually be higher than Barmes at this point lol)

    • spudchukar - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      Bullshit. The Cards would make the same move if Barmes was in, even though they shouldn’t do it to either. Didn’t they watch Cole hit against the Reds.

  8. e5tolife - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Haha you have no idea what you’re talking about. Get off Barmes’ d**k. He stinks and the superior player is on the field today and it shows.

  9. e5tolife - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Barmes has 3 intentional walks all season to mercer’s 6…despite the fact that Barmes had vastly more at bats

  10. e5tolife - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I take that back..the plate appearances are pretty similar. Yet mercer has twice the intentional walks. But yeah I’m sure everyone treats them the exact same at the plate. Clown.

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