Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why American League Baseball is Better

Why I hate the National League; Part I.
Bottom of the second, A's at Giants, bases loaded, two outs, and Matt Cain comes to the plate with his .045 batting average. Did he come through with a hit? Get real.

Why I hate the National League; Part II.
Same game. Lenny Dinardo has pitched 6 shutout innings, on fewer than 80 pitches, for the A's. He's on a roll and he's still strong, but he's due up second in the A's seventh in a scoreless tie, so he comes out for a pinch hitter (Stewart).

Why I hate the National League; Part III.
Same game. Bottom of the 8th, Cain has just given up a solo home run to Scutaro and trails 1-0. Cain has thrown about 115 pitches, but he's young and strong and, except for one pitch, he's been in control. Gotta have that offense, though, so he comes out for a pinch hitter (Sweeney). Neither Stewart nor Sweeney, by the way, got on base, so , playing the odds and pulling their pitchers, neither manager gained anything.

There are some pitchers who hit well, for pitchers, but Jason Kendall, at .195, is the worst hitting everyday player in the big leagues and a pitcher with an average like that would be a hitting stud. Pulling a pitcher because he's not likely to contribute offensively undermines what the pitchers are there for, to pitch. A few years ago I watched Tim Hudson and Jamie Moyer each pitch 9 innings in an Oakland 1-0 win. It was an exciting game not just because every pitch and every hit counted, but also because you had to wonder which pitcher would crack, as a pitcher, and give the other team a chance to score. You just don't get that in the National League. In the American League managers have to decide whether to leave the pitcher in or pull him based on how well he's pitching, how well he's doing the thing they have in on the team for. In the National League that decision is often made by the manager based on what the team's offensive needs are and what "the book" says he should do. It's bad baseball.

Also, do Giants' fans boo every time every opposing pitcher throws a ball when Barry's batting? And does Barry whine about every called strike? Man, both of those things get old quickly.

Oh, the A's won, 2-0. Not only did Cain's pinch hitter not hit any better than he would have, his relief on the mound didn't pitch as well as he had either.


Weblog Commenting and Trackback by