Oct 31, 2011; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa announces his retirement to the media during a press conference at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-USA TODAY SportsThe Toronto Blue Jays are starting a 7 game national league road trip which means pitchers hit and there’s no DH. They also have a national league series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in September.
The Blue Jays need to find a way to maximize their run scoring with their pitchers probably being automatic outs for the majority of their at bats.
That brings me to a thought I had. Or rather the thought I stole directly from Tony La Russa.
Ex-St Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa used to have his starting pitcher hit 8th in the batting lineup.
His thinking was that he wanted more base runners for the top of the lineup or more specifically Albert Pujols to drive in. He figured having a real hitter instead of a pitcher hitting 9th gave the top of the lineup more chances to drive in runs.
It’s something that makes a lot of sense but has rarely ever been done by other managers.
It’s hard to get people in baseball to break tradition even if it makes a lot of sense.
I’m hoping John Gibbons does the same thing with the Toronto Blue Jays lineup when they play in national league parks.
Gibby’s already breaking tradition by having his best hitter Jose Bautista hit 2nd instead of 3rd or 4th. That’s also a part of the reason the Jays should have a real hitter hitting 9th because Bautista will be hitting very soon after them. The Cardinals had Pujols hitting 3rd while doing that!
Having a real hitter to get on base in front of Melky, Bautista and Edwin is a huge thing that can’t be ignored.
Having the pitcher hit 8th means the Jays could have a pitcher hit in a crucial situation early in a game where it would normally be a regular hitter or they could have to take a starting pitcher out of a game slightly earlier but that’s a small risk worth taking.