The big news yesterday was Giants manager Bruce Bochy's decision to forgo the DH and let Madison Bumgarner bat for himself in last night's game against the A's (at the time of writing this Bumgarner is 1-1 with a double and the Giants are up 6-1 so it's working out just fine). Of course, the best hitting pitchers, of which Bumgarner is certainly one, are still typically lousy hitters overall and MadBum's no exception. Heading into last night's game he was slashing just .175/.261/.350 which was good for a wRC+ of 69.
We hear all the time that pitchers are worse hitters now than they used to be and that's generally true if you look at batting average, OBP, and slugging, but the good hitting pitchers 40 to 50 years ago were still pretty dreadful behind the plate. Bob Gibson had a reputation as a solid hitter for a pitcher and he leads all Cardinals pitchers with 24 career home runs in 1,489 plate appearances (Bob Forsch is second with 12 in 1,003 plate appearances). But even his career line (.206/.243/.301) resembles Mendoza-level stuff. On principle I'm anti-DH, but that doesn't take away from the fact that these guys can't hit and they never really could.
(That said, and on a somewhat related noted, Gibson was still an exceptional athlete. I went to a Cardinals-Braves old timer's game around 1990 at old Busch and Gibson played shortstop for a few innings (and played it well I might add - though I don't know what sort of exit velocity was coming off Gene Oliver's bat), and he hit a ball all the way to the warning track. He would have been around 55-years old at the time.)
Here's what you missed yesterday at VEB:
Recently demoted reliever Trevor Rosenthal got the Joe Schwarz treatment. Give it a read and let's hope Trevor gets back on track soon.
I wrote about the time Mark McGwire (maybe) hit a 545-foot home run. I was there, it was great. And speaking of pitchers who can swing the bat, as mentioned above Gibson hit 24 career home runs in 1,489 plate appearances. McGwire hit that many in his final 195 plate appearances as a Cardinal in 1997. We always talk about McGwire's 1998 season for good reason but the pace at which he finished 1997 deserves more play than it gets.
Carlos is hanging out with some butterflies. As always, Carlos is the best.
International free agent preview
Craig Edwards brought us all up to speed on the rules surrounding amateur international free agents and who might be on the Cardinals' radar.
Cardinals vs. Royals
Enjoy your 4th, everyone!