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Articles Tagged Pinch-hit 

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Looking for examples of a similarly strange managerial move.

Last Sunday, Bobby Valentine pinch-hit for Jose Iglesias with two outs and a 2-2 count in the seventh inning of a scoreless game against the Blue Jays. Iglesias wasn’t hurt. Toronto hadn’t changed pitchers. However, the situation had changed slightly: on the last pitch Iglesias saw, Pedro Ciriaco stole second. Iglesias is a weak hitter (at that point, he was 2-for-28 on the season), so with a runner in scoring position, Valentine called for Daniel Nava to drive him in. Had Ciriaco not stolen second, Valentine would have left Iglesias in to play defense. Maybe he wished he had after Nava grounded out on the next pitch.

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You might not know it from watching the World Series, but it often makes sense for a manager to pinch hit for his starter before the late innings.

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Mitchel Lichtman, or MGL, has been doing sabermetric research and writing for over 20 years. He is one of the authors of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, and co-hosts The Book blog, www.insidethebook.com. He consulted for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2004 to 2006, as well as other major-league teams. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Nevada Boyd School of Law. Most of the time these days you can find him on the golf course.

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August 4, 2011 9:00 am

Spinning Yarn: Counsell for the Defense


Mike Fast

Dissecting Craig Counsell's 45-at-bat hitless streak

Craig Counsell has been in a bit of a slump lately. Okay, maybe that undersells it a little. Counsell is 0 for his last 45 at-bats. His last hit came a couple months back, on June 10. Another hitless at-bat will tie him with Bill Bergen of the 1909 Brooklyn Superbas for the longest known streak of hitless at-bats by a position player.

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October 15, 2009 11:38 am

Playoff Prospectus: Dodgers vs. Phillies LCS


Jay Jaffe

A rematch of last season's pennant joust figures to be a much more interesting matchup... favoring who?

It's dj v all over again. For the second year in a row, the Phillies and Dodgers face off in the National League Championship Series. Last year, Charlie Manuel's club beat Joe Torre and company in five games en route to their first World Championship in 28 years, with the series turning on Matt Stairs' pinch homer off of Jonathan Broxton in the eighth inning of Game Four. This time, the Dodgers have the home-field advantage, having compiled the best record in the league and then swept the Cardinals in the first round in convincing fashion, shaking out of a brief slump which saw them lose a season-high five straight games between clinching a spot in the playoffs on September 26 and wrapping up the NL West flag on October 3. The Phillies shook off a late-season slump of their own to squeak by the Rockies in four games during their first-round matchup.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about the lost art of pinch running, past, present, and future.

With the help of Mat Kovach and Retrosheet, pinch running statistics in the last 50 years have now been compiled, along with leaderboards for seasons, lifetime, and most times removed, along with team and manager statistics. (E-mail me if you want this.) In compiling all this information, a few things jump out from the statistics, and so here are the highlights of pinch running statistics.

Motorin': The Best of the Best

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October 11, 2006 12:00 am

Playoff Prospectus: NLCS Preview


Jay Jaffe

Two wounded rotations, two bullpens likely to work early to often and up to the challenge... will the difference be the Mets' eight-deep attack, or the Cardinals' power of one at the plate?

The beginning of the postseason marked a chance for Willie Randolph's Mets to consummate something the baseball world had anticipated for at least four months, the chance to show that their regular-season dominance was no fluke. Yet the run-up to the Division Series against the Dodgers brought disturbing news. Not only was ace Pedro Martinez, the symbol of the team's resurgence under Randolph and GM Omar Minaya, likely to miss a start due to his calf strain, but he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff that would knock him out into the middle of next year. The team's next pick to open the series, Orlando Hernandez, tore a calf muscle running in the outfield, knocking him out of consideration as well. Undeterred, the Mets retooled their postseason roster to play to their strength, a deep bullpen, and Randolph ably improvised his way through the series while the lineup punished nearly every mistake the Dodgers made. The result was a victory in straight sets, confirming that at the very least, the road to the NL pennant runs through the Big Apple.

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Constructing a playoff roster is a critical part of advancing through the postseason. Christina breaks down the eight teams.

Bench Assets: If Jim Leyland pinch-runs for Pudge late in a game, Vance Wilson's a thoroughly useful backup catcher. Omar Infante is the Tigers' best reserve, hitting .277/.325/.415, and he's good enough to spot at four different positions. After that, you get into the "why are they here?" players, where only Leyland sees value, and only the opposition wants to see them on the field.

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Is pinch hitting good or bad? Guest writer Andy Dolphin uses the 2005 Phillies as a point of departure and takes a closer look.

A strong bench would seem to be one of those indispensable elements of a successful team. After all, if you need to generate some offense late in a game, you need players on the bench you can count on. (Not to mention, of course, the need to give players a break and have replacements for injuries. For this article I'm just looking at pinch hitting.)

The 2005 Phillies seemed to have just what they needed, in the form of four quality outfielders: Bobby Abreu (.286/.405/.474) in right, Pat Burrell (.281/.389/.504) in left, and Kenny Lofton (.335/.392/.420) and Jason Michaels (.304/.399/.415) sharing time in center. This must have been a manager's dream, right? Lofton or Michaels on the bench, able to come in and get on base to keep a rally going? Let's see how it worked out.

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May 18, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: The Moral Hazards of the Hit Batsmen


Dan Fox

Working the inside seam yet again, Dan looks at differences between the leagues and the impact of a few extraordinary gentlemen.

In the previous two weeks, we've been looking at historical hit by pitch rates and their trends, and investigating a variety of theories that have tried to explain the fluctuation of those rates. We've looked at a wide variety of theories that account for factors such as aluminum bats at the amateur level, changes in the strike zone, the increase in body armor, intimidation, retaliation, and even the win expectancy of the hit batsmen. While individual theories may lack explanatory power for a specific period of time, taken together they do provide insight into the sometimes opposing forces that underlie trends in baseball's complex competitive environment.

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I was at Safeco Field on Tuesday, watching a fast-moving game that was on pace to wrap up 3-2 Mariners in about two and a half hours, and ended up with one of the longest, craziest games I've ever attended. I scored this game. I've been working on an article about scoring and finding a good card to match your style, and thought I'd finally settled on one. This game, of course, became the torture-test for a scorecard:

The last great extra-innings game I'd been to was Blue Jays at Mets, at Shea, June 9th, 1999, a 14-inning marathon I enjoyed a lot. That one took four hours, 35 minutes. I blame Bobby Valentine, who failed to pinch-hit for Rey Ordonez over and over when it could have won him the game. It was a great time, though. I got to see the game with Melissa Hughes, who wrote some good baseball articles for a while (including some good and scary ones on baseball groupies and the Web sites of the adoring fan) and then quit writing about baseball.

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