Collins takes page out of La Russa's book
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Intrigued by a recent conversation with former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who was famous for batting his pitcher eighth, Terry Collins tried the tact in Thursday's win over the Braves.
With Zack Wheeler, a relatively strong hitter, scheduled to pitch, Collins decided to bat Wheeler eighth and Juan Lagares ninth. The idea was to create additional RBI opportunities for David Wright, who batted third.
Wheeler finished 0-for-1, while Lagares was 1-for-2.
Though the merits of such a strategy are debatable, Collins said he will consider exercising it again during the season -- particularly if his leadoff and two-hole hitters are not producing.
"A lot of it will be determined by how many guys are getting on ahead of David," Collins said. "If we aren't getting anybody on base ahead of him, we've got to come up with another formula to get guys on, and that could be the formula."
Collins added that he would be hesitant to try it without Wheeler or Bartolo Colon, his two best hitting pitchers, on the mound.
"I think we have to be [creative]," Collins said. "If we get where everybody's swinging the bats red hot, we don't have to worry about it. But if we're scuffling scoring runs and our first two guys aren't getting on, we've got to come up with something else that might ignite us, just to see how it works."