Friday, April 23, 2010

Batting Order

Ortiz is back at designated hitter (DH) after going on a Francona-enforced hiatus that he uncharacteristically admitted today was an "embarrassment". What, no expletives for us, Ortiz?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Ortiz's Britney Spears-esque episode earlier this season. (I might not have cursed so much, but the media and some fans were too critical, too early.) I'm just wondering if Big Papi is also on some Francona-enforced sedatives?

Whatever he's on, it's working. He just hit a homerun into the monster seats.

We're listening to the game on the radio in the car,* so I've had lots of time to notice new baseball terminology. Joe Costiglione and Dave O'Brien keep saying batting first, second, third, etc. for the Red Sox is.... They've also used the term "batting cleanup".

Ortiz is batting sixth for the Red Sox. I ask Dave if there is any rhyme or reason to his place in the line up (batting order). He says Francona likes to alternate right and left-handed batters, but that it's a complicated topic.

Thanks, Dave. Again, I'm in the car and without my reference material, so I'll have to ask my NEW husband, Wikipedia.

The first thing I learn is that batting order is set before the game, and it's a violation to go out of order. I guess that makes sense- it wouldn't be fair if Francona could have Dustin Pedroia hit a homerun and then step back up to the plate.

Next thing I learn is that there are a few other terms I missed. The first batter is referred to as the leadoff hitter. Batting in the ninth position is batting last. I would have thought batting cleanup meant batting last, but it actually means batting fourth; the batter hopefully cleans the bases of the baserunners before him by sending them across home plate.

Here's a few general notes about each position in the lineup.

1- Fastest runners, get on and around bases to capitalize on later hitters' power.
2- Contact hitters (as in make contact with the ball) that can get the leadoff batter into scoring position.
3- Best all-around hitter, but not necessarily the fastest. Sets things up for the cleanup hitter.
4- Often the hitter with the most power.
5,6- RBI (runs batted in) hitters, often hitting sacrifice flies to allow baserunners to score.
7,8- Less powerful hitters with lower RBIs. 8 might be a contact hitter.
9- According to wikipedia the ninth hitter is "like" the second leadoff. Often fast, with good on-base percentages.

Of course it's much more complicated than this, but we've reached our destination. I'm going in to watch the rest of the game on TV.

*I'm also writing this post in the car on my iPhone, so please forgive the formatting errors. The grammatical, spelling, and stylistic issues are still my bad.

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