Download and then miss: MLB pitchers can hit one last time

Download and then miss: MLB pitchers can hit one last time

ATLANTA (AP) – Smiling all the time, Zach Greinke donned his Astros warm-up jacket, joked with Freddie Freeman, and received a friendly pat from the Atlanta first baseman.

Who doesn’t like it when a pitcher gets hit?

Enjoy these fun moments while you can, fans. Because after the fifth game of the World Series, they can practically disappear.

There’s a good chance Major League Baseball will bring the designated hitter to the National League next year – probably forever. This means that Sunday night’s game at Truist Park could be the last time a pitcher appears in the Major Leagues.

“I think it will definitely be special that it could be the last pitchers in baseball. We’ve definitely raised this issue, ”said Braves starter Ian Anderson.

There will be no more Madison Bumgarner swinging behind the fence. No more Bartolo Colon racing and losing his helmet – or shocking everyone by plunging deeper. Greinka no longer needs to ground the single in the middle like he did Saturday night in Game 4.

Say goodbye to double switches. The sacrificial bunt will shrink, and automatic deliberate walks to the pitcher will also disappear. Ditto with the risk of a $ 20 million ace pulling the hamstring while working with bases.

Plus small nuances that will disappear: the bat boy runs out to the pitcher in his jacket at first base, the attacker on deck lingers near the dough box to give his hacker more time to reach the dugout.

Torn down over a century of strategy and baseball cloth.

“If he ever changes to the absence of DH, he probably will never come back, and that’s what would sadden me,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker.

It’s a good deal, ”says Houston shortstop Carlos Correa.

“It’s not real baseball to me,” he said Saturday. “I want to see real hitters.”

Sure, a few pitchers can get a fight here and there, maybe in extra innings when teams run out of player positions.

So who knows, maybe the Hall of Fame will get the bat that Framber Valdez uses when he starts Game 5 as Houston. The Braves are planning to play in the bullpen, so perhaps none of their pitchers will hit.

“To be honest, the last time I hit was in the regular season in San Diego, I thought I was done hitting,” Valdez said via an interpreter on Saturday.

“Fourteen or fifteen is the last time I regularly made it to the league. In that era, I loved to hit, ”he said. “Here in the big leagues, hitting a pitcher in the big leagues is a little different. So I still enjoy playing softball at home in the Dominican Republic, but as a major league pitcher, I don’t like it. ”

The DH debate has been raging since 1973, when New York Yankees’ Ron Blomberg became the first player to take on the role. This continues to this day, with American League teams often feeling at a disadvantage when the World Series moves to NL Park.

Keeping a 3-1 lead, the Braves are hoping to win the crown on Sunday night. If not, the scene reverts to DH’s setup at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Since the DH era began, the only pitchers to compete in the World Series were Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton in 2008 and Oakland’s Ken Holtzman in 1974.

Overall, there are just 3 out of 49 pitchers (0.061) on the table this postseason.

Not many pitchers do much damage at other times as well – except for Shohei Okhtani, of course. Major League Hurlers have a collective score of 0.108 this season. Max Scherzer, who used to be pretty good with the bat, scored a whopping 0 out of 62 for the Dodgers and Washington, failed to make it safely to base once and crossed out half the time.

Greinke, meanwhile, is doing just fine with his plate. So much so that Baker moved him from his usual ninth place pitcher in hitting order to eighth in Game 4.

The only pitcher who didn’t finish ninth in the World Series was Babe Ruth in 1918. Greinke responded with the first pitcher hit in the Fall Classic since Cory Kluber of Cleveland in 2016.

“Some guys don’t miss it, some pitchers. And there are some pitchers who absolutely lack it. Like Greinke, he really wants to hit, ”Baker said earlier this week.

Baker would have preferred it to remain as it is.

“I am in favor of leaving everything as it is. Let DH stay in the American League and play National League style in the National League because they are both interesting, ”he said.

Striker Jesse Chavez agreed with this.

“My personal opinion, I believe that this should remain the same. I think this is useful for the game because it adds two different aspects. This is chess. These are not checkers, ”he explained.

Braves manager Brian Snitker has spent four decades in the Atlanta system at all levels as a player, coach and skipper. He admits that he will miss the double switches, heads and other aspects of the National League strategy.

But after seeing the Netherlands using DH in 2020 during the pandemic-cut season, he enjoyed a lot.

“I just see so many pitchers going on the plate right now and, # 1, they don’t want to,” Snitker said. “To be honest, I think this game will be better watched. There will be more action, more things will happen. “

“Before I experienced this last year, I was kind of like the old guard. I was not for that. I am for it now, ”he added. “Because I see that for every Max Fried, Adam Wainwright and Madison Bumgarner, there are 15 guys who can’t beat. Again, they don’t grow up playing. They grow in a swing, but they do not beat. “

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