A double switch in baseball occurs when a manager switches out a pitcher who is in the starting lineup and a position player at the same time. Players who join the game replace those who leave it in the lineup. The same thing may be done with only position players.
A baseball manager’s role is to know and understand the rules of the game. With the pitcher batting in the National League starting in 2021, the manager will have to familiarize himself with the double-switch rule. A double switch, however, differs from a traditional replacement that takes the place of another batter, runner, or defender.
What Is The Purpose Of A Double Switch?
In baseball, the majority of replacements are straight ones, where one position player takes the place of another in the same lineup spot. Double switches, however, operate a little differently.
A double substitution occurs when two players are substituted by two different players at the same time. However, the two alternates swap batting positions corresponding to the original lineup, which typically results in pitchers being misaligned within the lineup.
Consider a pitcher who bats ninth. In this situation, a manager may decide to substitute another batter, such as the shortstop batting sixth, in his place.
In a double switch, the new pitcher would take the sixth slot in the batting order, and the new shortstop would take the ninth spot at the same time.
It is not very common for a manager to replace two position players at once. This usually happens in the closing stages of a blowout game.
In mass substitutions, the substitute usually bats at the same pitch as the player he replaces, but the manager can move the player to other pitches if the player is in a particular position he wants to see at bat.
To assure clarity in later innings, the manager must explicitly explain the nature of his substitutions to the home plate umpire, emphasizing the change in lineup spots.
Keep in mind that a baseball position player who is replaced is not permitted to participate in the game again in any manner. A player cannot switch spots in the batting order, according to baseball regulations.
What Distinguishes a Double Switch from a Traditional Substitution?
Making two changes simultaneously over one is the main distinction between a double switch and a regular substitute. The batting order is changed via the dual switch rather than by a regular substitute. Another significant difference between a double switch and a traditional substitution is that a double switch cannot remove the DH spot for a substitute player.
Can you Double Switch a DH (Designated Hitter)?
It is against the rules of baseball to double-switch from the DH position. In light of this, managers and teams must carefully choose who they select to play DH in their lineup. However, a substitute may take the starting DH player’s DH spot at any time during the game.
How Does the Double Switch Affect the DH?
The double switch is employed in the fictitious situations we presented to replace an existing pitcher who is also in the batting order.
Although American League (AL) teams are known to employ double switches, double switches are widely considered a National League phenomenon. Most notably, however, in the National League, where the hitter nomination was not used until 2020.
Remember, In the American League, a double switch is possible.
At times, American League teams will employ double switches in games only to bring in two position players at once, forgoing an incoming pitcher, but they can and will use them in interleague games at National League ballparks.
This is less frequent since managers are less likely to use two bench players at once unless it is late in a game that is already decided. Most AL teams only carry three or four bench players.
In summary, Double Switch is usually played by National League teams in National League stadiums. But American League managers should also be aware of this strategy. For example, an AL manager may need to use this strategy in an interleague or World Series.