Wed Aug 27 01:33pm EDT
Like Muhammad Ali once said about the Viet Cong, I ain't got no quarrel with the American' League's designated hitter rule
But that doesn't mean I don't like to see the National League say, "Ah, who needs it?" every now and then.
Such was my frame-of-mind as I watched last night's Mets-Phils thriller when not only Cole "Answer Man" Hamels was sent to the plate with a chance to win the game (K with runners at first and second in the 11th) but also Brett Myers (K with the bases loaded and a chance on a 3-2 count to make these guys very happy in the 13th).
Actually, the cool wrinkle was that it was Hamels' second extra-inning pinch-hit appearance in as many games. He also pinch hit in Sunday's game against the Dodgers and popped out just before Pedro Feliz hit a walkoff HR to win the game.
The experience allowed Hamels the opportunity to reflect in some pretty interesting comments on MLB.com:
"A pinch-hit walk-off hit would be absolutely amazing. But in the cage, they don't throw curveballs at you. It was a good pitch against my approach, which was to swing at anything and everything that was around the plate. And I did that."
"I now understand what it's like to be a pinch-hitter. You're prepared for it, but you can't be ready for the actual situation until you're actually in it. I was a little kid in a big league game. I should have been in the Little League World Series instead of this one."
"You don't want to put a bat in my hands to win a game. Put the ball in my hands, but not the bat. Pitching is something I know I can do. I'm not known to hit. I'm the guy who gets bloopers or a first-pitch ambush, a first-, second-inning type deal when the pitcher's like, 'Whatever, I have six more innings to worry about.' I'd definitely rather be throwing it at the hitters."
Kind of makes you wonder why Charlie Manuel even put him out there on Tuesday, right?
Regardless, I couldn't find the last time a pitcher won the game in extra innings as a pinch-hitter.
Micah Owings, of course, hit a game-tying home run as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning earlier this year, but I'm not sure about the additional qualifiers of it being extra innings and coming on a walkoff.
Anyone have any idea? (For more on pinch-hitting pitchers, THT had a great article in 2004.)
BONUS LINK: Phillies Nation has more on Myers' at-bat.