It’s hard being a pinch hitter. It sounds like it would be one of those baseball myths perpetrated by coiffured former catchers in the broadcast booth who have a startling lack of awareness as to what happens on a baseball field despite playing the game at elite levels for years. However, when pinch hitting, a drop off of around 16 weighted on base average points in performance can be expected from the batter.

In other words when considering a pinch hitter, a manager should subtract from a player’s expected wOBA before comparing it to the player he’s about to replace. There’s no clear reason for this, but it’s suspected it has something to do with a player’s mental preparation for an at bat while he’s sitting on the bench versus actually being in the game.

Yesterday afternoon in St. Louis, Phillies pinch hitter Ben Francisco entered the game for Cole Hamels with base runners on first and second and two out in the seventh inning. On the second pitch of that at bat, he delivered a home run, bringing in all three of Philadelphia’s runs.

If it’s true that not playing has an effect on a player’s batting numbers, then Francisco’s pinch hitting heroics are made even more impressive. He had four or more plate appearances in less than half of his 100 games this season. And yet the rarely used outfielder delivered when it mattered most yesterday, increasing the Phillies probability of winning the game by 40% with his one swing.

This evening, the Cardinals will attempt to stave off elimination by sending the trade deadline acquired Edwin Jackson to the mound, while Philadelphia will counter with Roy Oslwalt. Game Four of the NLDS is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM EDT.

And The Rest

The Quote Of The (Yester)Day goes to Tony LaRussa who explains why he switched Lance Berkman and Allen Craig in the corner outfield spots for yesterday’s lineup:

It’s my tribute to Moneyball. I’m not a big Moneyball fan. I have this little place, don’t have a big place. So what we do is we take the square footage between the right field line and center field and the square footage and from left field to center field, divide that by pi and we multiply it by bull[Getting Blanked], and then we pick the dugout. The field that’s closest to the dugout and that’s where Lance plays.

MLB’s attendance increased this season despite poor showings from the Dodgers, Rays and others.

Grady Sizemore had arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday and now the Cleveland Indians must decide whether or not to pick up his $9 million option. My advice: Buy out the option, and float a two year offer for $12-15 million to see if he bites.

One of Bill Buckner’s balls is for sale. No, you’re immature.

The Chicago Cubs have officially asked the Boston Red Sox for permission to speak to Theo Epstein.

I might feel a little bit more empathy for Tampa Bay Rays fans, if it wasn’t for their team having a very, very bright future.

Unlikely suspensions. Wait. Timo Perez is still playing baseball?

Speaking of a lack of empathy:

Pitchers & Poets explains why it’s okay to cheer for the Texas Rangers in the playoffs.

Jim Crane is still threatening to walk away from his deal to purchase the Houston Astros because he doesn’t want his future team to play in the AL. This is the epitome of a cash grab. Pay up, other NL owners. Pay up.

Astros prospect Dustin Kellogg was killed in a automobile collision.

What will the future hold for Jason Heyward? Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is drooling.

This press release lost me right around the time they tried to suggest that “conservation is as American as baseball.” Yeah, conservation is exactly what I think of when I hear America. Well, right after subtlety.

Finally, Dayn Perry remembers the sad crab of San Francisco.