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Buck Showalter and pinch hitters

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Going through the box score from yesterday's game, one of the things that amazed me was that Sandy Alomar Jr. was allowed to hit, in the bottom of the 9th, down by a run, with a tough righthander on the mound and lefty Laynce Nix available on the bench.

Lefties have roughed up Urbina this year, and historically Urbina has been much tougher on righties than lefties. Laynce Nix has been hitting well and has power, while Sandy Alomar Jr. is...well, he's Sandy Alomar Jr.

It isn't all that surprising, though, given Showalter's tendencies with the Rangers. He's been reluctant to pinch hit generally, and in particular, seems to loathe to either 1) pinch hit for his catcher, even with the backup catcher still available, or 2) send a young player in to pinch hit for a veteran. Both factors would work against Nix coming in for Alomar to face Urbina yesterday.

Which leads to another thought...the Rangers pinch hitters, the last couple of years, don't seem to have a real great track record of success. It may be that Showalter's reluctance to pinch hit for guys stems from a Pavlovian reaction to past failures.

Looking at the data, there may be something to that...

Rangers 2004 -- .143/.257/.206 -- 30th in OPS
Rangers 2003 -- .177/.292/.226 -- 27th in OPS

D-Backs 2000 -- .230/.329/.296 -- 23rd in OPS

That's the two years Showalter has been with Texas, and the last year he was with the D-Backs (I couldn't find team PH data that went back earlier than that).

All of his teams have been pretty terrible in terms of pinch-hitting, so the reluctance to pinch-hit may simply be a reaction to those past failures. Until Dellucci's pinch hit homer yesterday, the Ranger pinch hitters had been pretty poor as a group so far in 2005, and the Rangers are at the bottom of the league in the number of pinch-hitting appearances thusfar this season.