Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton
For dougdirt and RedEye:
A: You are a pitcher. You are facing Joey Votto with RISP. You look in the on-deck circle and see Corky Miller.
B: You are a pitcher. You are facing Joey Votto with RISP. You look in the on-deck circle and see Miguel Cabrera.
Question: Are you really going to pitch Votto the same in each situation?
Sure, in a situation where a manager is dumb enough to bat a AAAA player behind Joey Votto, it matters.
In almost every situation on the planet that would actually happen, lineup protection doesn't matter much.
Again, Zack Cozart should be hitting well because he has Joey Votto protecting him, right? Well that hasn't worked out because pitcher are there to get Cozart out. And they would do that no matter who was batting behind him short of a pitcher or a Corky Miller type of guy who flat out doesn't belong in the Major Leagues.
End of the day, I am pitching to 99% of Major Leaguers in a way to get them out without worrying about who is up next. My plan to pitch to Joey Votto would vary by situations and there are certainly times I would walk him to get to the next batter, but most of those times would be more about setting up a force out. Joey Votto is a great hitter. He still makes an out more than 50% of the time. I am more likely to get him out than he is to get on base. Pitch to him. Odds are you are going to succeed. Every hitter has a weakness. Find it. Deploy that plan. Succeed. Don't worry about who is batting next. Every hitter in baseball fails at reaching first more than they succeed at finding it.