Should the NL Be Required to Adopt the DH?

Should DH be universal?

  • No, yay for double switches and automatic outs

  • Yes, it's stupid to have 2 sets of rules

  • Only in the World Series


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BillLeesJumpShot

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I agree with this guy.
Ah, to stay on topic, 'tis the question.
As an extreme lurker member, I do see this come up every time we make the World Serious and from my perspective, think the DH should be the standard in both leagues. The 11% happy coincidence when a pitcher actually does something a little more interesting than striking out, isn't compelling at all. I will say that when Porcello torches an outfielder on one of those occasions, it is delicious simply because he is one of Our Guys.
 

Ale Xander

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If there wasn't an Ortiz and JDM on the Red Sox, I would say the AL should adopt the NL rules.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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How about a compromise?

You can pinch hit for the pitcher whenever you want, but the batter who hits for him has to leave the game or replace someone on the field. Pitcher doesn’t get removed. Want to hit for the P the next time he is up, same rule, the batter leaves the game or someone else on the field leaves the game. So no more P batting with two on and two out in a one run game and you don’t have to pull him, either.
 

EddieYost

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Best of both worlds, adopt the softball DP/Flex rule or something similar. Pitchers who can hit are extra valuable. Bat for whoever you want to bat for. Someone good twists an ankle and needs to take a few innings off in the field? No problem, the DP plays defense in his place.
 

dhappy42

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Best of both worlds, adopt the softball DP/Flex rule or something similar. Pitchers who can hit are extra valuable. Bat for whoever you want to bat for. Someone good twists an ankle and needs to take a few innings off in the field? No problem, the DP plays defense in his place.
I like this. Until recently, I didn’t know that the AL DH rule was restricted to pitchers.
 

soxhop411

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Serious hypothetical.

If the NL had the DH since the start, does Ortiz still land on the Sox/spend his entire career with them?
 

threecy

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Yep, Ortiz may have been forced to retire before helping the Sox to the 2013 World Series Championship.
Imagine if the DH rule had been adopted 15 years earlier? Who knows what kind of career stats Ted Williams could have accumulated.
 
Jul 5, 2018
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How about a compromise?

You can pinch hit for the pitcher whenever you want, but the batter who hits for him has to leave the game or replace someone on the field. Pitcher doesn’t get removed. Want to hit for the P the next time he is up, same rule, the batter leaves the game or someone else on the field leaves the game. So no more P batting with two on and two out in a one run game and you don’t have to pull him, either.
That would remove the most appealing thing about not having a DH; the manager has to weigh the value of possible runs against leaving an effective pitcher in game.

One of the worst decisions to pinch hit occurred in Game 6 of the 1981 WS. In a 1-1 game there were a couple guys on with two outs in the bottom of the 4th. Bob Lemon decided to pinch hit Bobby Murcer for Tommy John resulting in a warning track fly out. The Yankees relievers then proceeded to give up 7 runs over the next 2 innings.
 

Noseminer

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Jun 17, 2018
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I prefer the DH. Some don't. OK. It's a personal preference. You like what you like. But please can we dispel with the notion that the NL has added "strategy" because of it? A series of predetermined moves, that will always be the same decision, is not strategy, Pitcher pitching well in the 5th and low pitch count and he is not tired? He hits. 7th? If he is pitching well, he is leading or game is tied, and his pitch count is reasonable and he does not appear to be tiring, he hits. He is tired or his pitch count is up there, he gets pinch hit for. You are behind in the 7th or 8th, runners in scoring position, he is pinch hit for. This is not strategy. It's common sense.
 

alydar

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Is there any governing body that would enable just the National League to change their rules? We talk as if the decision is up to the NL clubs, but I assume all AL clubs would have an equal vote in any changes goin forward?
 

nvalvo

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I prefer the DH. Some don't. OK. It's a personal preference. You like what you like. But please can we dispel with the notion that the NL has added "strategy" because of it? A series of predetermined moves, that will always be the same decision, is not strategy, Pitcher pitching well in the 5th and low pitch count and he is not tired? He hits. 7th? If he is pitching well, he is leading or game is tied, and his pitch count is reasonable and he does not appear to be tiring, he hits. He is tired or his pitch count is up there, he gets pinch hit for. You are behind in the 7th or 8th, runners in scoring position, he is pinch hit for. This is not strategy. It's common sense.
I hear you. The strategy is in *how* you pinch hit for him, because there are tradeoffs that have to be balanced.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Is there any governing body that would enable just the National League to change their rules? We talk as if the decision is up to the NL clubs, but I assume all AL clubs would have an equal vote in any changes goin forward?
No. The existing MLB rule starts:

Any League may elect to use Rule 5.11(a) (Rule 6.10(b)), which
shall be called the Designated Hitter Rule.
 

WheresDewey

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I used to follow the Giants extensively when I lived in California in the dark days before MLB TV. I learned to appreciate the NL game, despite growing up favoring the DH as a Red Sox fan.

I think the difference between the leagues adds a unique twist. I favor keeping the difference, though I wouldn't mind inter-league play going away outside the world series.
 

Noseminer

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Jun 17, 2018
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I hear you. The strategy is in *how* you pinch hit for him, because there are tradeoffs that have to be balanced.
Not really any different than pinch hitting in the AL. Pinch hitting strategy is not limited to the NL.

Edit: Can you give me a few examples of some of these "tradeoffs that have to be balanced"?
 
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geoduck no quahog

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So, a GM builds an AL team to compete on equal footing with every other AL team. Then it comes to the World Championship and maybe 3 or 4 of those critical matchups penalize the GM because he built the team the way he did. It’s not as big a deal for the other league - they’re adding, not subtracting. It’s simply unfair. No question.

The only good thing is that AL teams are better than NL teams so the advantage doesn’t always play out.
 

singaporesoxfan

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I’m totally fine with having two separate sets of rules. I don’t like the NL version as much, but inconsistency doesn’t really bother me. Baseball accepts certain inconsistencies that other sports don’t – park dimensions most notably – so why not the DH rule?

And it’s not correct to say making the NL team use the DH in interleague games only benefits both sides. NL teams simply aren’t constructed for a DH so it’s not fair to them.
 

singaporesoxfan

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So, a GM builds an AL team to compete on equal footing with every other AL team. Then it comes to the World Championship and maybe 3 or 4 of those critical matchups penalize the GM because he built the team the way he did. It’s not as big a deal for the other league - they’re adding, not subtracting. It’s simply unfair. No question.

The only good thing is that AL teams are better than NL teams so the advantage doesn’t always play out.
From the NL GM perspective, he built an NL team to compete on an equal footing with other NL teams. This means he couldn’t sign an Ortiz type of player or an Ohtani type of player. Then it comes to the World Championship and 3-4 of those critical matchups penalize the GM because he built the team the way he did. Playing under AL rules is unfair to them as well, just less obvious because in the AL case the loss from playing in the other league is of a player who is on the roster, in the NL case the loss is the type of player who’s not even on the team.
 

ponch73

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How about a compromise?

You can pinch hit for the pitcher whenever you want, but the batter who hits for him has to leave the game or replace someone on the field. Pitcher doesn’t get removed. Want to hit for the P the next time he is up, same rule, the batter leaves the game or someone else on the field leaves the game. So no more P batting with two on and two out in a one run game and you don’t have to pull him, either.
I think the prior arguments for making the DH universal across both leagues are pretty compelling. With the increased role specialization of the game, it's not fair to expect pitchers to swing the bat all that well. Having a DH to hit in the pitcher's spot makes for more competitive at bats. Consistent rules across both leagues should also negate any relative roster-building advantages or disadvantages, especially come playoff time.

That being said, I like the idea of instituting a compromise solution that preserves some of the NL strategic trade-off that comes from a pitching change. My suggestion would be to staple a specific DH to the pitcher of record completing an inning. So, if the starting pitcher gets pulled in the middle of an inning, so too does the DH. Any new reliever closing out an inning requires a new DH. NL managerial purists could still opt to have pitchers bat (a pitcher could serve as his own DH). Of course, the DH doesn't have to be designated until the half inning after the pitcher makes an appearance (so an inning with multiple pitching changes only requires a single DH change). Also, as before, any team having to use their DH in the field automatically loses the DH (a.k.a., from that point forward, that team's pitchers have to serve as their own DH's).

Consider some of the implications:
1. In a game where the starter is dominant, teams get the added benefit of using their best DH deep into the game. An example of this would be stapling Big Papi as DH to 2007 post-season Josh Beckett.
2. In a game where the starter gets in trouble early, teams have the added disadvantage of losing their best DH early in the game. Think of 2018 ALDS Game 2 or 2018 ALCS Game 1 where short outings by Price and Sale lead to games where JDM only gets 1-2 PA's.
3. In a Tampa or Milwaukee game where a reliever is used as an opener, the Rays/Brewers would likely want to save their best DH for after the pitching change. This might mean that they would also potentially need an "opener" DH (unless they plan for their starter to only go an inning, and they bat the DH close to the bottom of the batting order).
4. In a postseason game where Joe Maddon wants to substitute pitchers like crazy, he will likely exhaust his entire bench of positional players (just as he did in this year's wild card game against the Rockies).
 
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dbn

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I am voting for DH all the way, and going one step further. Since the point of the DH is to save noodle bat pitchers who spend all their effort preparing for their demanding positions, let's do it for catchers too ...

... but only for the Sox. I would love to see a regular DH come up to bat for Vazquez or Leon. :)
Terrible idea. You have very good defensive catchers that struggle to hit, but that is true of many positions (SS, CF, e.g.) and you have offensive catchers that struggle defensively, which is also true of other positions. However, you don't have pitchers who struggle to pitch but are regular starters anyway because they can hit well.

edit: if you were joking and I missed it, oops.
 
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dbn

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I'm waiting for the day when teams will have separate lineups for offense and defense.
I'm waiting for the day when the NFL forces teams to play all 11 players on both offense and defense. Like baseball, if you sub a player, he cannot re-enter the game.

(N.B.: I'm kidding)
 

soxin6

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The biggest issue isn't that most pitchers can't hit, it is that pitchers cost a fortune and having them get hut swinging a bat or running the bases is insane. The NL is basically the last place where pitchers still hit in the majors. They don't hit in the minors and they don't hit in college. If the NL teams want to continue to let the pitcher hit, that is fine, but the AL teams shouldn't have to follow that rule. At the very least, the DH should be required in the WS.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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One of the worst decisions to pinch hit occurred in Game 6 of the 1981 WS. In a 1-1 game there were a couple guys on with two outs in the bottom of the 4th. Bob Lemon decided to pinch hit Bobby Murcer for Tommy John resulting in a warning track fly out. The Yankees relievers then proceeded to give up 7 runs over the next 2 innings.
I can't figure out why this is a bad outcome, nevermind "one of the worst".
 

Noseminer

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I can't figure out why this is a bad outcome, nevermind "one of the worst".
I think he is calling it a "bad outcome" because Lemon went against the norm and removed the pitcher in the 4th inning and he was pitching well. Normally the "strategy" would be to let him hit. The bullpen then was shelled. However that was the Yankees plan for the game. get a lead early then let the bullpen take over. He was obviously hoping Murcer would provide that early lead. He didn't, bullpen was ineffective and the series was ovah.
 

dbn

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I think he is calling it a "bad outcome" because Lemon went against the norm and removed the pitcher in the 4th inning and he was pitching well. Normally the "strategy" would be to let him hit. The bullpen then was shelled. However that was the Yankees plan for the game. get a lead early then let the bullpen take over. He was obviously hoping Murcer would provide that early lead. He didn't, bullpen was ineffective and the series was ovah.
I think his point was that the Yankees losing is not a "bad outcome". Y'know, a bit of wit.
 

shepard50

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Enough with consistency and uniformity, and give a rousing cheer for a few oddball differences, and for the power of conscious abrasion.

I like the difference in the leagues and that it adds flavour to a long season and an interesting strategic twist (sit Mookie or JD?!) to the World Series. If I had to choose I would pick DH. The pitcher hitting is a bore and I hate to see a pitcher who is grooving taken out for a PH late.

But I like a bit of flavor but...

If we want to make the game more consistent give me a Robo-ump behind the plate FFS.
 

opes

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I like to see the Bartolo Colon's out there hit that one home run. I really do. BUT the DH rule for the AL obviously adds statistical value, offense, and the negation of a possible pitcher injury. The NL rule as quirky as it is, probably should be changed just for injury sake alone.
 

Noseminer

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I think his point was that the Yankees losing is not a "bad outcome". Y'know, a bit of wit.

What a dumbass I am. Really. Totally missed that. Thought never crossed my mind. It's just too long and lonely of a journey for them at times. Sorry,
 
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nvalvo

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Not really any different than pinch hitting in the AL. Pinch hitting strategy is not limited to the NL.

Edit: Can you give me a few examples of some of these "tradeoffs that have to be balanced"?
These scenarios are, as you suggest, fairly rare. Usually things are pretty much cut and dried. But there are moments where you have opportunities to double-switch where there are different ways you might do it. If you watch more than the occasional NL game, you'll see these situations come up.

Let's say you're making a mid-inning pitching change to get out of a jam with two outs, and your seventh spot hitter is due up. You want to get more than a third of an inning out of the pitcher you're bringing in. That means, you want to put the new pitcher as many spots as possible away from batting, and you want to put a good hitter into the 9 spot, because it will be up third in the next half-inning. So you have decisions to make. Who are your fifth and sixth place hitters? What positions do they play? Who do you have on the bench? Can you do this while reserving bench versatility for later in the game? What's the score? How much game is left? Should you prioritize improving your defense or your offense? How likely is it that the sixth spot is even going to come up again? How do your bench bats match up against who's likely to be pitching?

So for instance, with our roster, it might be that we're trailing by two, and want to put Velazquez in and have him pitch last out of the sixth, and then the seventh and the eighth as well, to preserve the pen. But we're still close enough that we don't want just let him bat. So we have to choose between double switching in Lin to take over defensive duties for a Bogaerts, batting fifth, who's unlikely to bat again, or subbing in Swihart to hit and play first and putting the pitcher in Pearce's spot, batting sixth.