Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Baseball managers should be more adventurous with their 9th inning pinch-hitting; who cares if they have no defense afterwards?

Not a power hitter.
Back on Sunday the Red Sox lost to the Yankees, 3-2.  Trailing by a run in the bottom of the 9th inning, weak-hitting utility infielder Jonathan Herrera came to the plate with one out, playing second base due to Dustin Pedroia's hand injury.  Herrera struck out looking.

Jonny Gomes (who's literally about ten times more likely to hit a game-tying home run than Herrera, who has a total of 8 in 1006 career at-bats) was available, but John Farrell neglected to pinch-hit with him because there wasn't anybody else who could've played second base should the game go to extra innings.

You see this in baseball all the time, and it makes absolutely no sense to me.  Is there a chance you might lose the game in extras because Gomes or somebody else is playing out of position at second?  Yes, but I guarantee it's less than the 100% odds of losing if you never even tie it up in the first place.

I'd really like to see an MLB manager just disregard defense completely when it comes to pinch-hitting in situations like this.  Maybe his team would drop a game or two because of it, but I bet in the long run they'd win more.

Plus, it would make things much more exciting from a fan perspective; who wouldn't love to see what happens if Gomes is forced to field a ball at second base?  And considering there were about 17 people at the Sox vs. Sox game in Chicago last night (officially 13,402, 33% capacity of U.S. Cellular Field, but if you saw on TV it was obviously nowhere near that), more excitement seems like a good thing.

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