These Guys Can Hit, Too

Pull For A Cure

I’ve long said that pitchers need to be better hitters, because really, these cats are athletes, and there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to put themselves in a better position to help their team. A few extra cuts in the cage before the game can go a long way over the course of a season. 

That’s why I was tickled pink to read Matt Gelb’s latest offering in The Inquirer that details the friendly competition between The Four Aces to see which of them is best at handling the lumber.

Not content to be one of the best starting staffs in the Majors, these guys want to turn up the heat on the opposing pitchers.  In doing so, they stand to help out their team by not giving away at bats, but they can earn a little extra dough, thanks to an elaborately designed points system, courtesy of bench coach Pete Mackanin.

And they asked Mackanin, an independent party in the wager, to develop a system for keeping score. So he awards one point for each successful bunt, hit, RBI, quality at-bat (one that lasts at least five pitches), walk, hit by pitch, and line drive out. For every failed bunt attempt and double play, a point is subtracted.
Not surprisingly, Hamels is leading the pack, while Lee and Oswalt are tied for second, with Halladay in last place – probably the first and only time he’s ever been in that spot. It would surprise me if that’s how they finished up the season, because Hamels can straight up use the bat. He’s no Carlos Zambrano, but his stroke from the left side is so fluid, that it’s only a matter of time before he hits one out. Of course, one cannot count out Cliff Lee, who was proven that he won’t be a pushover when he steps into the box. 
Although this pitching staff has zero to prove in the batter’s box – it’s more than enough for them to pitch their brains out on a nightly basis – it’s very cool to see these guys wanting to improve their performance in other ways. Sure, it’s borne of alpha-male competitiveness and a love of free money, but if that’s what it takes for Halladay to turn himself into the best hitter pitcher in the game (you just wait), then so be it.
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