|Cardinals manager Tony La Russa bats pitcher eighth against Nationals|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 04 August 2007 11:55|
Adam Kennedy, the Cardinals' second baseman will bat ninth.
``I've been thinking about for a while. Our offense has been very erratic,'' La Russa said. ``We're just not getting enough guys on base. (What) we're trying to do is get a legitimate position player in the lineup.''
The Cardinals entered Saturday night's game against the Nationals on a three-game losing streak. They're 11th in the National League in runs scored.
``We just lost three games with the pitcher batting ninth. ... I think it's a good strategy to use. It's not like we're burning up the league offensively,'' La Russa said.
The reason to bat a position player ninth is to potentially put another runner on base for the team's middle of the lineup.
``In the American League, it's a second leadoff hitter,'' La Russa said of the ninth batter.
It's not as if he's losing a ton of production from the eighth spot, either; the Cardinals were last in baseball with 28 RBIs out of the eighth slot.
La Russa has done this before; in 1998, he batted his pitching in the eighth slot 76 times. He hasn't done it since.
The player La Russa chose to bat ninth wasn't thrilled about it - even if he had batted ninth regularly last year with the Los Angeles Angels.
``It's what (La Russa) wants to do,'' Kennedy said. ``We all have egos, so definitely, that comes into play.''
One of the players who might benefit from La Russa's strategy - first baseman Albert Pujols, who normally hits third, wasn't in the starting lineup. Pujols is suffering from a sore right elbow, and was available for pinch-hitting duties, La Russa said. Pujols has played in each of the Cardinals' first 106 games - and started all but one.
The last starting pitcher to not bat ninth was Florida's Dontrelle Willis, who batted seventh on Oct. 2, 2005.