Taking a page from the handbook of Tony La Russa, Mets manager Terry Collins is considering occasionally batting his pitchers eighth this season, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
“My thought is: How do we get them more RBI chances and also give David Wright, in particular, chances to drive in runs,” Collins said. “It is a possibility I might try hitting the pitcher eighth. I don’t know that I will, but I might.”
I’ll believe it when I see it, but here’s the theory as explained by La Russa:
By having a legitimate hitter in the No. 9 spot — say Juan Lagares — it is as if the No. 3 batter becomes the cleanup man because Nos. 9-1-2 in the order function like 1-2-3.
“When you have a guy like David Wright, it is worth considering,” La Russa said by phone. “I liked it. You want to protect your best hitter as best as possible, and this is a way.”
“If the pitcher is an out, then you only have two opportunities to get someone on in front of your No. 3 hitter, which opens more spots for that hitter to be pitched around or walked,” La Russa said. “This gives more opportunities for base runners in front of the No. 3 hitter and, thus, fewer chances to pitch around him.”
Sherman says that Collins’ contemplation to try this strategy underscores he is worried about his offense.
What are your thoughts?