Pirates plan to bat the pitcher eighth this season

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Pirates manager John Russell revealed today that he plans to bat the pitcher eighth in the lineup for most games this season, with shortstop Ronny Cedeno or his backup Bobby Crosby hitting ninth.
Some lineup simulations have shown that the pitcher batting eighth rather than ninth can indeed lead to more runs, as having a position player in the last spot gives the top of the batting order more runners to drive in.
The down side is that by hitting eighth the pitcher will come to the plate more often and closer to the lineup’s most potent threats, potentially halting more rallies in progress.
Russell follows in the footsteps of Tony La Russa and Ned Yost, both of whom batted the pitcher eighth frequently in recent years.
In this case the goal is to create more RBI chances for Andrew McCutchen, which is also why Russell announced that he’ll hit second in the lineup this season after exclusively leading off as a rookie last year. Akinori Iwamura will replace him atop the lineup.

Mike Trout, Willson Contreras homer, A.L. leads 2-1 after three

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Aaron Judge did it first, Mike Trout did it next.

The best player in baseball — who spent the bottom of the second mic’d-up and talking to Joe Buck and John Smoltz about the weather and stuff — came to bat second in the top of the third inning, facing Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. deGrom is used to pitching with no run support at this point so it’s not like he was uncomfortable I imagine, but you can only get so comfortable when Mike Trout is in the box. Trout took deGrom downtown. Or at the very least to left field to make it 2-0, American League.

The National League took that run right back in the bottom of the third. With the Rays’ Blake Snell in the game, Willson Contreras of the Cubs led off and he wasted no time, depositing Snell’s first pitch just over the railing in left to make it 2-1, American League.