Amid the outcry over MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred killing the four-pitch intentional walk, there has been a lot of professional speculation over which baseball rules should be changed. Writers have done think pieces, players have made jeering tweets, but the Tigers have stayed relatively silent on the matter. However, when Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer asked Twitter for opinions, Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander was quick to offer one.
Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y'all want to see changed, if anything, & why?— Chris Archer (@ChrisArcher22) February 23, 2017
@JustinVerlander lol. DH does make a huge difference in the outcome of game and personal statistics ..— Chris Archer (@ChrisArcher22) February 23, 2017
I’m not entirely sure where Verlander is getting his data on the length of National League games versus American League ones, because the number of plate appearances certainly don’t change, so the only reason a pitcher hitting instead of a designated hitter would shorten a game is because they strike out faster.
Verlander has made no secret out of the enjoyment he gets from taking at-bats during interleague play, but he was also famously without a hit from 2006-2014, and currently has a slash line of .081/.081/.081. In fact, the only Tigers pitcher who might benefit from dropping the DH rule is Jordan Zimmermann, who has a much healthier .170/.193/.198 after all his time with the Washington Nationals.
There might be something to Verlander’s argument, though, because following the introduction of the DH in 1973, game length has increased by over a half hour per game. Even with that in mind I think most American League fans would rather see guys like David Ortiz and Victor Martinez taking swings every day than watch Anibal Sanchez line up a bunt. Sorry, JV.