Greg Dobbs, Charlie Manuel's designated hitter of choice for Game Two, sucked last night. Yes, he got a single in the sixth to move Jimmy Rollins into scoring position but otherwise, he struck out twice, left four runners on base, and was lifted in the eighth for pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett. Bruntlett proceeded to do something a National League DH had failed to do in the five previous seasons: hit a World Series tater tot.
Not since San Francisco Giants DH Shawon Dunston took Angels pitcher Kevin Appier deep in the fifth inning of Game Six of the 2002 had an NL DH hit a ding-dong in the World Series. Since that point, NL managers have been coming up short figuring out which bench players to pencil in to the DH slot. FOX showed a graphic last night that showed National League DHs were hitting a measly .067 since 2003 with 0 home runs and 1 RBI in World Series games.
Here's a list of the culprits:
- Jeff Conine, FLA (3 games)
- Reggie Sanders, STL
- Marlon Anderson, STL
- So Taguchi, STL (pinch hitter)
- Jeff Bagwell, HOU (2 games)
- Chris Duncan, STL
- Preston Wilson, STL (pinch hitter)
- Scott Spiezio, STL
- Ryan Spilborghs, COL (2 games)
What do all those guys have in common? A slightly above average bat and a slightly below average glove. They've failed to get hits or drive runners in; even future hall-of-famer Jeff Bagwell was limited in his brief appearance. Simply put, the NL teams are at a disadvantage because their roster doesn't normally carry someone who fits the mold of the typical AL DH. Someone who draws walks, hits for power, and doesn't drop off significantly against lefties or righties.
Charlie Manuel's choices for DH include a right-handed hitting backup catcher in Chris Coste and three lefty mashers in Dobbs, Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins. All of these guys have performed well in pinch-hitting duties for Manuel but they're a combined 1-for-7 with seven left on base in two games. With the game shifting to an NL park for the next three games, Manuel has one less thing to be second-guessed about by baseball bloggers.