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An Explanation

Yesterday, I expressed puzzlement as to why Dusty pinch-hit Jose Macias for Paul Bako, when Michael Barrett thus would have had to come in the game anyway.

I got two similar and sensible explanations by e-mail.

First, from Ben:

Ron Santo actually figured out why Dusty did this, and I think it was the right move. You have runners on second and third, one out. Late in a tie game in this situation you either walk the guy to create a double play situation or you bring in the infield, increasing the chance that a ground ball will get through (which is exactly what happened). If Dusty sends up Barrett, there are two possibilities.

One, he gets walked, or two, you let him hit with the infield in. This is an easy call, you walk him (even if Todd Walker is in the circle, there was a lefty pitcher in the game). With Macias up, there are no good options for the Phillies, you either let Barrett hit with the bags juiced, or you let Macias hit with a drawn in infield, effectively turning him into a good hitter. Given that Barrett was the best hitter on the bench (and I think the team leader in sac flies), putting him in the on deck circle forced Bowa to bring the infield in and pitch to Macias. Certainly this was better than Macias batting with the bags loaded and the infield back after a Barrett walk, the grounder he hit would have been a double play.

Then this, elaborating a bit further, from Chris:

If you'll remember, there was a runner on second and Barrett was up in the on deck circle after Macias - so Dusty was planning on batting Barrett in the inning regardless. Ron Santo remarked on the radio broadcast that the reason Dusty batted Macias for Bako instead of Barrett was because he believed Bowa would have intentionally walked Barrett while he would pitch to Macias - and they did pitch to Macias. So instead, he had Macias bat for Bako, and Barrett batted in the pitchers spot.

This does make sense, and none of us in the bleachers saw Barrett come out on deck before Macias stepped into the batter's box.

And further, Ron Santo was the one who pointed out this bit of baseball strategy -- look, I know lots of people love Ron, but analysis of the inner game isn't what he normally does on-air!

What this situation really shows is how much the Cubs miss Todd Hollandsworth.