Pinch-hitting for a Moose

I’m writing this now so you don’t call me a second-guesser later.

A few hours before Game 3, I praised Ned Yost’s new-look, National League- and San Francisco-centric lineup. My only quibble at all was (and is) with the two straight left-handed hitters (Hosmer and Moustakas) and the two straight right-handed hitters (Peréz and Infante). Not alternating the lefties and righties — which would have been exceptionally easy to do — just makes Bruce Bochy’s life a little easier.

But I forgot one little bit of this whole thing until a bit later:

There are actually two reasons to pinch-hit for Moustakas with a left-handed reliever on the mound.

One, Moustakas has been terrible against left-handers, with a .211/.267/.328 career line. Even if Bochy were to respond to a right-handed pinch-hitter with a right-handed pitcher, the Royals’ two righty pinch-hitters are just better hitters than Moustakas, period. Nearly any possible match-up is better for the Royals than Moustakas vs. one of the Giants’ lefties.

And two, game theory. Right now, Bochy probably figures he can bring in whomever he likes, because Yost simply won’t pinch-hit for Moustakas. After all, he’s done it just twice in the last four months. But Yost can plant a pesky seed of doubt in Bochy’s mind if he makes a move early during these National League rules.

Or maybe that doubt should be there already. Yost did pinch-hit for Moustakas near the end of the regular season, and then again in the Wild Card Game, both times with Josh Willingham. 

It’s not often that you’ll see a manager pinch-hit for his No. 5 hitter. But with two pretty good right-handed hitters on the bench in Game 3 (and probably Game 4), Yost should absolutely do it if the opportunity comes up.