How would the Yankees use the double switch?

Philles set Blanton for Game 4
Ratings strong for 2009 Series

For the first time since June, the Yankees will be without the benefit of the designated hitter, a big part of their offense. That role has been Hideki Matsui‘s this year, and he performed admirably, posting a .274/.367/.509 line across 526 plate appearances. He didn’t play an inning of outfield all season, though, bringing into question his role for the next three games.

It appears that Girardi has ruled out the possibility of starting Matsui in the outfielld. Carig reports that Matsui could play the outfield in a double switch situation, which would place him in the outfield for the first time since June 15, 2008. Yet there seems to be only one scenario where a double switch would make any sense.

The double switch involves a manager substituting a position player for the pitcher, and a pitcher for a position player. This only works if 1) the pitcher’s spot is due up in the next inning, and 2) the position player leaving the game isn’t due up before the pitcher’s spot. This creates a problem for the Yankees, because their lineup will probably look like this:

1. Jeter
2. Damon
3. Teixeira
4. Rodriguez
5. Posada
6. Cano
7. Cabrera
8. Swisher
9. Pitcher

Cabrera and Swisher at the bottom of that lineup make the double switch tough when it involves Matsui. If, say, Cano makes the last out, the pitcher would be due up but two of the double switch candidates are due up first. All Girardi could do at that point is to sub the relief pitcher for Johnny Damon, which staves off the pitcher’s spot by only two batters. If the Yanks put two men on base in the next inning, the pitcher comes up any way and you’ve just pointlessly lost Damon’s bat.

If Cabrera makes the last out it creates another tough situation. In a double switch the pitcher would come in for Cabrera, meaning the substitution would have to play center field — no way that Swisher or Damon does at this point. That means Gardner, who would hit after Swisher to start the inning. Unless you absolutely needed the reliever for multiple innings, wouldn’t it just make sense to pinch hit Matsui in the nine spot and call on another pitcher for the next inning?

It could make sense if Swisher makes the last out of the inning. Matsui would then sub for the pitcher and take over in right field. He would also lead off the next inning. But in that scenario, if the game is close, Girardi would probably pinch run Gardner for Matsui if he got on. At that point he’d be better off just pinch hitting with Matsui, since the move commits to less. Then if Damon makes the last out of that inning, you could insert Hideki into left and leave the pitcher in the two hole. You could do that in the double switch scenario too, I suppose.

Going through double switch situations is something new for us fans of AL teams, and it’s certainly an exercise. The problem in doing this is that to double switch with Matsui would hamper the defense. Straight pinch hitting assignments could work better, unless there’s a serious lineup alignment issue. Then, and only then, should Girardi double switch. If he doesn’t need the reliever for multiple innings, straight pinch hitting is the way to go.

The one scenario I can see this working is in a straight pinch hitting situation. If Matsui pinch hits for the pitcher and Damon makes the final out of that inning, Girardi could send Matsui out to left and insert the new pitcher into the two spot.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few scenarios (and might have even botched some). This is where I love the comments.

Philles set Blanton for Game 4
Ratings strong for 2009 Series
  • Free Mike Vick

    How bout we pull a La Russa and let the pitcher hit 8 and melky bat 9.




    • Tom Zig


    • chriskeo
    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      This will end badly.

      • Joey

        The bears can smell the menstruation already?

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          It is anchorMAN, not anchorLADY, and that is a scientific FACT!!!!

  • Jason

    Gerardi had a year with the marlins and will be able to use it effectively if necessary. Because the line-up is so deep, it may not be needed. Also keep mind that if there is a pinch runner situation, that could change everything.

  • themgmt

    The interesting move would be to start Matsui in LF, Damon in CF, Melky in RF. Then when he went to hit for the pitcher, use Swisher.. then double switch with Matsui.

    Matsui gets his two ABs and plays defense in the first 4 innings instead of late in the game.

    Damon Melky Swisher play the middle innings defensively.

    Then when you pinch hit for the pitcher again, pull Damon for Gardner.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      “It appears that Girardi has ruled out the possibility of starting Matsui in the outfield.”

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        And, double that down with Damon in CF is insane.

        If Matsui plays LF and Damon plays CF, somebody will die. Literally, somebody somewhere will die, from either a heart attack, blunt force trauma, shingles, something. The person who dies could very well be one of Matsui or Damon, for that matter.

        That’s just Bad Idea Jeans. If Girardi ever put together a Matsui-Damon-Melky OF, I would find out what kind of puppy he likes the best, so I could kill it on camera and send him the video.

        • Ivan

          Last thing we want is Tommie being dead.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            The ambiguity in this comment is priceless. I can’t tell if you’re serious or just sardonically dry, and it’s perfect.

            Well played, Ivan.

            • JMK aka The Overshare

              You’re our Rally Monkey, Tommie.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Yeah… no. Let’s not go down that road.

                • dkidd

                  /billy packer’d

              • Ivan

                Sorry, We don’t believe in evolution. So Tommie being “the rally monkey” doesn’t quite work.

                /Christian Fundamentalist’D

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  Carl Everett looks really pale.

                • Ivan


                • Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Comment of the fucking day.

                • tim randle

                  well ain’t i the public school victim…i always thought it was bad idea GENES…as in, if your parents had em, you will too…

      • TheLastClown

        Hey, that was just a comment made on some hogwash blog by some spreadsheet-make-love-to-er.

        You’re responding to themgmt!

        I think since they’ve made bold choices before, like dropping most of the letters in management for efficacy, you might want to listen to this Matsui-OF possibility.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Technically, doing something horrendously retarded would be “interesting”, so, yeah, whatevs.

    • Steve H.

      While I would hate to see that OF defensively, it would be easier to pull off in a small ballpark like in Philly. Not too much ground to roam out there. That being said, considering Matsui hasn’t played an inning in the OF this year, and Damon hasn’t played CF, I’m totally against it.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      I like it. Not strategically, of course. But hell, that could be highly entertaining. Now the real question is, is Hairston Jr. the catcher while all this is going on?

    • themgmt

      Apparently it’s a newsflash that Damon is a horrible outfielder.

  • nathan

    Check this out

    “The objective is to get it right, we asked each other what we had seen and the replay confirmed we got it right,” crew chief Jerry Davis said, according to the New York Post.

    He is talking about the Howard trapped play.. the replay confirmed what?

    i am now convinced, they dont need no stinkin replay they need a re-evaluation of umps.. these are the 6 best clowns they can find.. excusme while i go vommit

    • TheLastClown

      There’s no claim that “these are the 6 best they can find.”

      The umps are privately contracted. MLB does not train them.

      They do not have a meritocratic system for selecting playoff umpires.

      • nathan

        MLB crowed that all umps are expereinced WS umps.. they did nto state the 6 best… but dont u have to assume the 6 best were chosen .. after all its the WS… i did read somewhere they were all in top 10 ratings wise

        • TheLastClown

          The point is, the ratings system is archaic at best.

          And no, you can’t assume that they’re the 6 best.

          You can’t even assume, under the current auspices, that ANY of the MLB umpires are worthy of the job that they have.

          It’s like training someone in phrenology & calling them a psychologist.

          • tim randle

            i was a phlebotomist in college…not really germane, but i’d like to be an umpire someday–just like high school or AA would be cool…

    • henry frisch

      Can they explain why Howard threw to second if he caught the ball in the air when all he would have needed to do was step on first to double Posada off?

      They admit they blew the bang bang play hit by Utley. The fact that they can view the tape of the Damon/Posada “double play” and call it correct is totally shocking. If they can’t man up it is far worse than just making big time blunders.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      Dude, we had a thread this morning about replay. This is about double switching in Philadelphia.

      • nathan

        OOps my bad

        got too enraged with that article…

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Jeter: Personally, I’m all for double switching. I love it. I think we should do it every night. It’s one of my favorite parts of the game.
    (Burnett leans over and whispers in his ear)
    Jeter: Oh, that’s what it means? Meh, big deal, nevermind. I don’t care about that. Whatevs.

    … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

    • TheLastClown

      Going to see the bear drive the little car, huh? Sweet.

    • Dela G

      Haha too funny

  • nathan

    Yankee fans are accused …

    we are tame and civil… KenRosentahl maybe is trying for a few hits to his article

    has he asked one non-negative qn to a Yankee after a victory…

    • Joey

      Come on man, keep it on topic

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      That’s twice in one thread.

      Nathan is a habitual line stepper.

      • tim randle

        here comes the hot stepper!!

  • Glen L

    The only situation where it would make any sense for the yankees, with a deep (if recently slightly scary) bullpen, to use the double switch would be to keep Mo in for another inning

  • Count Zero

    I don’t want to see Matsui in the OF…at all…ever. Even for just one inning. That is the kind of situation Murphy’s Law pounces on every time.

    Double switch with Hinske or Hairston…maybe even Grit Gritner in the right situation. Matsui is strictly a PH for the next three. It hurts, but it has to be.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


      Matsui gets one pinch hit AB each game. That’s it.

    • toad

      I could see risking it in one particular situation. You’re enough behind that you really want Matsui to get two PA’s, and you have a good chance to do that with him only playing one inning in LF.

      You’ll still have to PH for the pitcher, so I guess the defensive risk buys you two Matsui PA’s and one Hinske/Hairston, instead of the other way around. Is that worth it, three or four runs down late?

    • JackC

      I believe the correct quote in this context is “Daniel Murphy’s Law”

  • e mills

    the double-switch may have to wait as the weather doesn’t look like it plans on cooperating tomorrow night. Furthermore, if the weather does not cooperate, Lee will probably be pitching game 4.

  • SM

    I think we have enough quality relievers that the point should be moot or close enough. I see very little advantage in the ability to have a reliever out there longer if it means Matsui in the field.

  • dkidd

    i don’t think there’s any way matsui plays the field, but i could see joe double switching to keep a dominating hughes or mo in the game for another inning

    random and possibly off-topic factoid: buck showalter found it was easier to manage in the national league because when to remove the starter is often determined by when he’s due to hit (although someone like cc makes that a bit more complicated)

    • dkidd

      that is, double switching with someone NOT named matsui

  • Peedlum

    How is it that I managed to take logic in college, take the LSAT, go to law school which requires the application of logic, take the CA bar which requires you to sometimes apply the opposite of logic and sometimes apply logic, practice law for almost a decade which makes you into an intellectual chameleon and the concept of the double switch still escapes my understanding? I wish I’d had a class in this at Harry B. Thompson Middle School instead of having Home Economics with Mrs. Last where I sewed a koala bear and made french toast.