Mains: First-pitch fastballs and pitching to the pinch

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on July 13, 2018:

In May, my BP colleague and friend Craig Goldstein emailed me about something he’d heard during a Nationals broadcast. According to Craig:

F.P. Santangelo commented yesterday that he doesn’t know why any starter starts a pinch-hitter with a fastball because they are geared up for it, and they want a fastball. I’d be curious if PH do better against first pitch fastballs or something along those lines.

If you’ve read my work in the past, you probably know that research like this is definitely my jam. It’s not that I take pleasure in pointing out things commentators say that are wrong (though that does happen). Rather, it’s that this makes for a fun project.

Nationals television analyst and seven-year MLB veteran F.P. Santangelo knows a lot more about baseball than I ever will. I’d never heard about pinch-hitters sitting fastball. Finding out whether it’s true adds to our knowledge of the game. Well, maybe not yours. But mine for sure!

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Originally published: July 13, 2018. Last Updated: July 13, 2018.