Will the Astros starters become #PitchersWhoRake in the World Series?
If the NLCS showed us anything, it was how important (and fun) pitchers hitting can be.
So, how might the Houston Astros pitchers -- who only get to swing the lumber when in an NL park -- fare? Let's find out.
Career batting line: 4-for-43, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 21 SO
Verlander isn't much of a hitter. During Spring Training, he once led off an inning by dropping down a bunt (and giving the crowd a tip of his helmet afterward):
Though Verlander may only have singles to his name in the regular season, Dodgers starters should be a little wary of him. Verlander has batting practice power:
Career batting line: 3-for-35, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 20 SO
Keuchel's line may look OK -- at least by pitching standards -- but that hides the fact that two of his three hits came in 2012 when the Astros were still an NL team. Since then: 1-for-15.
Here is that last hit -- a bouncer back up the middle. What's most impressive is that, even as a pitcher that rarely gets to hack it, he'll use a difficult leg kick as a timing mechanism:
Hey, whatever works for you.
Career batting line: 19-for-258, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 132 SO
Playing most of his games in the National League means that Morton has the most practice at the plate, but all that work hasn't exactly helped him much. Still, he has four extra-base hits to his name, which is something he can always hang his hat on.
He could have had five extra-base knocks, were it not for
Career batting line: 1-for-8, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 SO
There's not much of a book on McCullers at the plate, as the curveball artist has only 8 at-bats in his career, but he's shown an ability to put bat on the ball.
When he does, look out: His lone hit was an inside-out job with a Statcast-measured exit velocity of 101 mph.
2-for-16, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 10 SO
Peacock has been the Astros' secret weapon this year -- going from the bullpen to the starting rotation then back into the bullpen for the postseason. And if they want a pitcher to collect a hit, Peacock is (probably) the man to look toward. Peacock showed his hitting feathers this season, collecting both of his career hits and RBIs in just seven ABs.
He did it with the stereotypical pitcher's batting stance, too: Upright and stiff, with the bat just flashed through the zone. But it worked.
He's also someone you don't have to worry about missing the bag. Peacock may not have a lot of experience on the basepaths, but he is sure to make the most of it.
So, when it's the 16th inning in Game 7 and Peacock comes up big as a pinch-hitter, don't be surprised.
Michael Clair writes about baseball for Cut4. He believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit and Adam Dunn's pitching performance was baseball's greatest moment.