Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Posnanski: To DH or Not To DH

Since 1986, the DH World Series rule has been tied to home park. When the game is in an American League park, they use the DH. When it is in a National League park, pitchers hit for themselves.

Brilliant Tweeter CashMoneyMark asked an interesting question: From what we can see in the limited number of games which league has had the advantage?... There is no definitive answer to this, I think, because of the small sample size mentioned above. But it seems to me—and this is surprising to me—that it plays any role at all, it actually hurts the National League more to play WITH a DH, than it hurts that American League to play WITHOUT one.

First: Start with the World Series records since 1986:

American League home record: 44-21 (.677 winning percentage)

National League home record: 37-29 (.561 winning percentage)

... But here’s the interesting part, at least to me. American League teams have unquestionably been better offensively with the DH. On the road, with the pitcher hitting for himself, AL teams have averaged about 3.77 runs a game. With the DH, they average about a half run more per game… The National League, though, offers the shocker. At home, with pitchers hitting, they average 4.15 runs per game, which is pretty close to what American League teams score at home. But on the road, using the DH, National League teams have scored only 3.4 runs per game, meaning they score seven-tenths of a run LESS per game with the DH than they do with pitcher’s hitting…

What this probably says is that the DH is not that big a factor one way or another … certainly not as big a factor as home field advantage. But I would love it if Tony La Russa, citing this history of NL teams score more with the pitcher hitting, just had his pitcher hit in the American League park. He’s the only guy who would try something like that, and I have to say it could be his crowning tactical moment, beating hitting the pitcher eighth, beating the triple switch, beating everything. If he had his pitcher hit in Texas, and the Cardinals won the Series, Tony L would become even more of a folk hero than he already is.

Obligatory “don’t give him any ideas.”  (Well, that and St. Louis has 11 runs with a DH as I write this.  But I still thought it was an interesting finding.)

The District Attorney Posted: October 23, 2011 at 02:52 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball geeks

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walt Davis Posted: October 23, 2011 at 06:50 AM (#3972203)
It makes sense the DH would help the AL more -- they have a top hitter, the NL puts in a 4th OF -- but, yeah, that average runs scored thing is a bit wacky. Of course you do worse on the road ... and the AL had a long run of winning the AS game and getting HFA so perhaps the NL is more likely to be facing their best pitcher in AL parks (though this might be just as true of the AL teams).

Could it be the DH penalty? The NL will often/usually put a regular 1B/OF in the DH slot and put the extra guy in the field. But if that good hitter can't perform in the DH slot, you've lost one of your best bats. Still not gonna account for a drop of .75 runs.

In 65 games we're talking just 275-300 PA for the NL DH. Grrr ... Poz doesn't give us the slash lines.
   2. Dan Posted: October 23, 2011 at 07:30 AM (#3972213)
What this probably says is that the DH is not that big a factor one way or another … certainly not as big a factor as home field advantage. But I would love it if Tony La Russa, citing this history of NL teams score more with the pitcher hitting, just had his pitcher hit in the American League park. He’s the only guy who would try something like that, and I have to say it could be his crowning tactical moment, beating hitting the pitcher eighth, beating the triple switch, beating everything. If he had his pitcher hit in Texas, and the Cardinals won the Series, Tony L would become even more of a folk hero than he already is.


Of course unlike the typical NL team, the Cardinals DO have a perfect guy to DH in Craig (or shifting Berkman or Holliday to DH), so this would be pure insanity. It's not like the Cardinals are using the DH to put the likes of Nick Punto or Corey Patterson in the lineup, unlike what we see in some years from the NL team in the World Series.
   3. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 23, 2011 at 01:35 PM (#3972240)
Could it be the DH penalty? The NL will often/usually put a regular 1B/OF in the DH slot and put the extra guy in the field. But if that good hitter can't perform in the DH slot, you've lost one of your best bats. Still not gonna account for a drop of .75 runs.


By my count, there have been 63 WS games in AL parks (including last night) going back to 1986. Thus, the 16 runs scored by the Cards last night raised the NL R/G average by .25.
   4. Swedish Chef Posted: October 23, 2011 at 01:43 PM (#3972245)
Thus, the 16 runs scored by the Cards last night raised the NL R/G average by .25.

A quibble, only the 12.6 above average runs contributed to raising it, so it is 0.2 R/G.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
A triple short of the cycle
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOMNICHATTER needs no reason, just space, for June 28, 217
(41 - 8:27pm, Jun 28)
Last: puck

NewsblogAs the Tigers falter, Justin Verlander emerges as an intriguing trade possibility
(22 - 8:18pm, Jun 28)
Last: Gonfalon Bubble

NewsblogOTP 26 June 2017: Confederations Cup shows how sports media in Russia differs from politics
(685 - 8:15pm, Jun 28)
Last: Jay Z

NewsblogDodgers rookie Cody Bellinger has never heard of 'Seinfeld,' teammates hilariously respond
(190 - 8:10pm, Jun 28)
Last: Dog on the sidewalk

NewsblogLet's Do the Math on Miguel Montero and Jake Arrieta
(8 - 8:04pm, Jun 28)
Last: Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™

NewsblogOT: Summer Soccer Thread 2017
(99 - 8:02pm, Jun 28)
Last: AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther

NewsblogMiguel Montero after Cubs cut him: ‘People can’t handle the truth’ – Chicago Sun-Times
(21 - 7:52pm, Jun 28)
Last: Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™

NewsblogCENTRAL PARK - JULY 1, 2017 10 AM - BBTF ANNUAL SOFTBALL EXTRAVAGANZA
(301 - 7:25pm, Jun 28)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogThe education of New York Yankees prospect Clint Frazier
(5 - 6:58pm, Jun 28)
Last: Bug Selig

NewsblogSprint Speed shows fastest at each position | MLB.com
(40 - 6:57pm, Jun 28)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogOT-NBA off season thread
(146 - 6:50pm, Jun 28)
Last: madvillain

NewsblogMiguel Montero shifts blame to pitchers after Nationals steal seven bases - Chicago Tribune
(75 - 6:40pm, Jun 28)
Last: Cargo Cultist

NewsblogRon Darling rips Mets’ muscle-head trainers as a ‘joke’ | New York Post
(23 - 6:36pm, Jun 28)
Last: The Duke

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2005 Ballot
(2 - 6:07pm, Jun 28)
Last: DL from MN

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2005 Discussion
(16 - 5:54pm, Jun 28)
Last: DL from MN

Page rendered in 0.2868 seconds
49 querie(s) executed