Lineup protection may or may not exist. Studies suggest it doesnt, at least not statistically, however, many inside the game insist it does. Within their view, the pitches a batter sees suffer from the batter on deck. Almost all agree that situations play a role, but beyond that, simply how much effect is there? The question was posed to 6 pitchers, four hitters, and 2 managers (both of whom are former catchers). Listed here are their responses:
Madison Bumgarner, Giants pitcher: I should look at the on-deck circle a lot of time, but my pride gets the better of Josh Kline Jersey me. I cant remember a period which i looked over there and was actually smart about the situation. It should be this way. Its a hard thing to do. You dont wish to surrender, I dont want to surrender.
Kevin Cash, Rays manager: A large amount of those questions have been asked about Longo (Evan Longoria). You will find the guy who protects, you will find the guy who gets the advantage of having protection, and then you po se s the really good hitter who both. We factor in protection, but its not just having that certain guy in front of him, or behind him. Thats not the driving force when making a lineup.
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays infielder: I think its such as this: If youve existed a bit, people are going to pitch to you the way theyre likely to pitch for you. But when you have guys behind you, theyre likely to be more likely to get some things wrong within the strike zone. Theyre likely to be more aggre sive throwing strikes, but not more aggre sive throwing fastballs. Theyre likely to throw their pitches, but theyre likely to throw them more for strikes.
Joe Girardi, Yankees manager: I worry much more about stacking lefties or stacking righties. I want righties between lefties, so its harder for them to match up against us later in the game. Thats my biggest concern. I think about this type of protection above all else. Kalan Reed Jersey I dont think hitters think a great deal about (whos in it) and I dont nece sarily either, because lineups today are extremely deep.
Tim Hudson, Giants pitcher: Youre foolish should you dont look at the next hitter. Specifically for us older guys; we know who in the lineup has already established succe s against us and who hasnt. For those who have a man on deck that you know doesnt see you well, and theres a guy in scoring position, and youre facing a guy that sees you well, youve got to be smart. Pitch him tough, and take your chances using the guy on deck.
Kevin Jepsen, Rays pitcher: As a reliever, if Im coming into the sport and facing three-four-five, on most teams theyre all studs. If Im behind a batter 2-0 or 3-1, Im not very upset if I walk him. If he chases, great. Otherwise, I get a brand new count against the guy on deck. Every hitter is dangerous when hes ahead. The only time Im really seeking to see whos on deck is when theres a base open.
Evan Longoria, Rays infielder: I think thats a fairly silly question. Its an i sue that answers itself. For those who have somebody like Miguel Cabrera behind you, youre getting pitches to hit, as opposed to if its a rookie with little big-league time. Theres also handedne s. If youve had a left-handed guy behind you, and theres a lefthander around the mound, a right-handed hitter isnt going to get as many pitches hitting in Tim Semisch Jersey a few instances. Theyd rather face the left-handed hitter.
Rick Porcello, Red Sox pitcher: It puts you more within the strike zone than you want to be. You dont want to walk a guy and have to face a man behind him who is able to do as much damage. And hitters hit strikes, whether its a strike breaking ball or perhaps a fastball that catches the center third from the plate. I think anybody who watches the sport knows protection exists. When we dont have Hanley (Ramirez) coming up behind Papi (David Ortiz), that actually works within their favor.
CC Sabathia, Yankees pitcher: Im always conscious of it, however i try not to change the way I pitch too much. I like to keep to the strategy. I try to obtain everybody out, but when a certain situation requires it, Ill pitch around the zone just a little. You have to be Connor Neighbors Jersey careful in certain situations. You dont wish to let a Miguel Cabrera hurt you, however you have a Victor Martinez hitting behind him, and that makes it tough.
Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox infielder: It doesnt matter for me. I po sibly could be hitting ninth or first. I dont care. I think it matters for many hitters, but not for me. Im just likely to go up and swing the bat.
Mark Teixeira, Yankees infielder: There are a lot of variables, but common sense tells you that if a stud is hitting behind you, youre likely to see better pitches. In todays game, you've a lot of match-ups. The guy behind you might not have the most robust numbers, but if he matches up very well against the pitcher, youre probably going to see better pitches, and the other way around. But Ive hit third, before Vlad Guerrero, and fourth, behind Chipper Jones. I had good seasons with both, so I dont think it makes that big of the difference.
Adam Warren, Yankees pitcher: Early in the game, its more about getting the hitter out whos Tyler Marz Jersey right in front of me. Im not concerned about whos coming up next. The deeper you get into the game maybe its tied you need to start considering who youd rather face. You may pitch around a guy, or you might go right after him. You need to be smart.
Thanks to colleague Eno Sarris for suggesting the subject, as well as for procuring the quotes from Bumgarner and Hudson.