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There IS TOO Strategy In The AL!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Since the MLB infamously adjusted the rules for the American League in 1973, allowing a designated hitter to bat in place of the pitcher and play no position defensively, the strategic aspects of the game changed dramatically for the AL. In fact, there is a lot to be said for the argument that the introduction of the DH essentially eliminated a lot of the roster challenges and accompanying strategy demands faced by the NL - all that pinch hitting, substitution, and pitchers-having-to-practice-their-bunting-technique mumbojumbo is generally nowhere to be found in the AL these days. For the most part, the only time we get to see some serious in-game roster-switcheroo action from an AL team is during interleague play or the World Series (or in a Yanks game during which 15 players get injured). Even after reading up on the issue and trying to see the argument for the instatement of the strange rule and the decision to make it applicable to just one of the two leagues, I must say that I think the games would be more interesting overall if Torre, Francona, Leyland, et al had to manage their bench and bullpen in the same fashion as the other folks.

This year, though, rather than being able to count on one go-to DH (see Big "I like it when you call me Big Papi" Papi), the Yankees have had to operate with near NL-calibur management. What with the injuries to so many players and the ill-conceived 456289-man platoon plan for first base not working out exactly like one (and I really do mean "one" here, as in the Cash Man) might have hoped, Torre has been shuffling players in and out of that DH spot on a near-daily basis to accomodate for pitching matchups and the strengths/weaknesses of his available players. Giambi was initially slated to be the everyday "don't let him on the field" hitter, but we've seen Matsui, Demon, A-Rod, and Posada all take their turns in the role, too. Torre has carefully allocated resting days for folks like A-Rod and Posada - whose bats the team cannot afford to do without but deserve the occasional break from the field nonetheless - and tried to keep Melky in the outfield as often as possible thanks to his stellar home-run spoiling defensive capabilities out there, and has even made room for folks like Shelley "GIMME SOME RITALIN FOLKS WOOOOT!!!" Duncan and Wilson "Seriously, say my last name really fast, it is fun!" Betemit to get some at-bats, too.

As I've mentioned countless times before, this team really is a whole lot better than their record suggests. A lot of people have skewered Torre and hefted a lot of the blame right onto his sensitive and perhaps overly sentimental shoulders, but I think his management of the DH situation is a good reminder to all of us that he honestly has done the best he could do with his regards to the offense. As for his pesky habit of picking one reliever and insisting on using him every single game until his poor bedragled body literally crumbles into pitcher-dust on the floor of the clubhouse, let's just say he could use a little work.
posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, August 21, 2007  
  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger Yankees Fan in Boston said…

    That is clearly the best nick name going around for Shelly Duncan and I hope it sticks.

    I think the basic iea of the DH came down to expanding the appeal of the game and making money.

    Fans like seeing stikeouts and homeruns..

  • At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Your YankeesChick Moderator said…

    Let's talk about the strategy the Yankees have going on right now: After this .500 sub-par team had the luxury to be a part of "Play the AAA Teams Tour" in July. Now there going to flush all the work of gaining in the wildcard race* right down the crapper in 7 days!!!

    Discuss amoungst yourselves!

    *I didn't mention the AL East race because I know you already knew that you had no chance on CATCHING THE BEST TEAM IN BASEBALL: THE BOSTON RED SOX!!!!

    Oh Yeah Chicks!!!!!!

  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger Matthew said…

    Mo, please tell me you can see the IP address and it's the same as that thisblogsox character. I despise him/her already.

  • At 6:38 PM, Anonymous The Other Dreamy Grady in Ohio said…

    I actually remember when they instituted the DH (don't forget....you said you like old dudes). I liked the rule then, and I like it now. Pitching around the number 8 guy to get to the pitcher is BORING.
    BetemitBetemitBetemitBetemit...hey,that is kinda fun.

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