Carleton: Why isn’t baseball weirder?

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on November 28, 2018:

It’s the ninth inning. You’re down 3-2 with two outs and your light-hitting shortstop is due up. Time for a pinch-hitter? Well, not so fast. The bench is kinda thin right now and there’s no one left who’s actually played shortstop before. Your fourth outfielder is available to hit and he’s got a decent bat, but even if things go well you face the possibility of having to slide someone over to short. And it’s probably not going to be pretty.

Worry about the 10th inning when you get there, right?

Did you ever notice this doesn’t happen very often? It’s fairly rare for a manager to pinch-hit so aggressively that he might end up with a player in a strange defensive role. There’s a reason we call it #WeirdBaseball. It’s actually weird when that happens. And at first blush, it’s weird that it’s weird. If a team enters the ninth inning trailing, they can’t win unless they score some runs. Why aren’t they doing everything they can to score, even if it means having to face the music later? If they don’t score, the music won’t play at all, and even if they do have to play someone in a strange spot, maybe they can hide the fielder somewhere he won’t have to do anything. Let the music play!

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Originally published: November 29, 2018. Last Updated: November 29, 2018.