The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

The value (and the art) of pinch hitting

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Oct 20, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

In last night’s World Series opener, the biggest hit was a pinch hit single by the Cardinals Allen Craig, the same guy who drove in two runs as a pinch hitter in the clinching game of the NLCS, the same guy who hit .318 as a pinch hitter in the regular season.

He’s the same guy who went 1-for-7 as a pinch hitter last season.

“I’ve felt I’ve done a lot better job this year coming off the bench,” Craig told the Post-Dispatch. “I’ve had a wide range of opportunities thrown at me.”

In the World Series, pinch hitting might be an underrated advantage for the National League. It’s a strategy not used very often in the American League, but used constantly in the National League. Craig had seven pinch hits this season. None of the Yankees had more than three.

No surprise, the Yankees most-often used pinch hitters this season were veterans who played largely platoon roles in the regular season.

Jorge Posada: 2-for-15 with five walks, four strikeouts, a double and two RBI
Andruw Jones: 2-for-12 with two walks, six strikeouts and an RBI
Eric Chavez: 3-for-11 with one walk, three strikeouts and two RBI

The Yankees three most-often-used pinch hitters combined to bat .184 with one extra-base hit and 13 strikeouts as pinch hitters. It’s a hard thing to get used to, which is why you so often hear regular position players complain about DHing by saying it’s like pinch hitting four or five times a game.

The rest of the Yankees pinch hit appearances this season:

Chris Dickerson: 1-for-4
Curtis Granderson: 1-for-4
Eduardo Nunez: 0-for-4
Russell Martin: 1-for-3
Robinson Cano: 0-for-2
Francisco Cervelli: 1-for-2
Austin Romine: 1-for-2
Nick Swisher: 1-for-1
Brett Gardner: 0-for-1
Greg Golson: 0-for-1
Jesus Montero: 0-for-1
Ramiro Pena: 0-for-1
Brandon Laird: 0-for-0*
Alex Rodriguez: 0-for-0*
Mark Teixeira: 0-for-0*

* Drew a walk in only pinch hit appearance




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