The Double Switch In Baseball Explained

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A double switch typically occurs in the National League, which requires pitchers to hit. Let us know more detail about ‘The Double Switch In Baseball Explained’.

The Double Switch In Baseball Explained

The Double Switch In Baseball Explained

When a team is on defence and the manager wants to change pitchers, he will not only bring in a new pitcher but another player on defence as well. He will do this when the pitcher’s place in the batting order is due up soon in the team’s next at-bats.


Under the substitution rules, when two or more players enter the game on defence at the same time, the manager can dictate where each new player will bat in the order. In other words, if the manager is bringing in a new pitcher and a new left fielder, the new pitcher does not need to bat in the spot occupied by the previous pitcher, nor does the new left fielder need to bat in the spot occupied by the previous left fielder.

Say the batting order is:

  1. Abel (CF)
  2. Baker (LF)
  3. Charles (1B)
  4. Daniel (3B)
  5. Edward (SS)
  6. Frank (RF)
  7. George (2B)
  8. Hooker (C)
  9. Irwin (P)

This team is on defence in the top of the seventh inning. At the bottom of the seventh, Hooker, Irwin, and Abel are due up. The manager wants to replace Irwin with Mabel on the mound, but he doesn’t want Mabel to hit in the bottom of the inning — at least not anytime soon. So he will remove Irwin and Frank (or anybody else other than George and Hooker, and likely Abel and Baker) and insert Mabel and Roberts.

Mabel, the new pitcher, does not have to hit Irwin’s spot. Nor does Roberts, of course, have to hit in Frank’s spot. So the manager will tell the plate umpire that Mabel will hit Frank’s old spot and that Roberts will hit Irwin’s old spot.

This keeps the feeble-hitting pitcher Mabel away from having to hit anytime soon.

Without a double switch — that is, just bringing in Mabel to replace Irwin — Mabel would have to hit Irwin’s spot.

Circumstances Where Double Switch Is Applied?

What is the double switch rule in baseball?

It is not a rule, but a strategy that is rarely used anymore now that the designated hitter rule is universal.

Phillies manager Gene Mauch is generally credited with coming up with this idea in the 1960s.

When replacing a pitcher, if the pitcher’s spot in the batting order is due up early in the following half-inning, Mauch would insert a second player at the same time. This meant the relief pitcher ostensibly could stay in longer before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

If the #7 batter in the order made the last out, Mauch would insert the pitcher into the game in the #7 slot and then a new player in the #9 slot who would Defensively take over the position of the #7 hitter.

The last three slots in the lineup would change like this, assuming Manny made the last out the inning before, so Moe is due up first.

7-Manny, 2B

8-Moe, SS

9-Jack, P

After the double switch, it would look like this:

7-Abbott, P

8-Moe, SS

9-Costello, 2B

This means the pitching spot in the lineup would be the ninth batter in the next inning instead of the second. This allows the reliever to stay in the game into the next inning or two without being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

In the event the team gets a big rally going and the pitcher’s spot comes up, the game has changed because the team has scored at least three runs. Good problem to have.

Advantages Of A Double Switch
  • For example, let’s say the right fielder made the last out of the previous inning and the #3 spot in the order is due up in their next at-bat. The manager would put his new pitcher in for the right fielder, and the new right fielder would go in the pitcher’s spot. That way you have eight real hitters coming up from #3 through the leadoff spot before the pitcher’s spot is due up again, rather than six.
  • The double switch also gives the manager more flexibility with his pitchers. If he had a pitcher come in for the pitcher at the #9 spot and the pitcher was doing well on the mound but the game was still close, he’d have to decide whether to let the pitcher hit or replace him because he’d rather have a bench player hit in that spot. The manager has a couple of extra at-bats to make that decision. Of course, in today’s game relief pitchers rarely last more than an inning in the late stages, but it still gives the manager options.

Double Switches Work In Major League Baseball

A double switch is when you replace two fielders at the same time but you put them in each other’s place in the batting order.

It almost always involves a pitcher who is due up to hit in the next inning. So let’s say, your pitcher is the number nine hitter in your batting order. He’s due to lead off in the bottom of the 8th inning. You take him out and replace him with a relief pitcher. You also replace your shortstop, who’s your number 8 hitter with another shortstop.

As long as you take them both out at the same time, you can designate your new pitcher to bat in the number 8 spot and the new shortstop to bat in the number 9 spot. That way, the new shortstop is now your leadoff hitter in the 8th inning.

So, in effect, a double switch:

Switch #1 – new pitcher and shortstop

Switch #2 – batting order of new pitcher and shortstop


Now We’ve learnt about ‘The Double Switch In Baseball Explained’, A double switch is used to keep an incoming pitcher from hitting. For example, let’s say a game is in the seventh inning and the team on the field wants to make a pitching change. The manager will put the new pitcher in for a defensive player whose batting spot won’t come up again for a while, and he’ll put a new defensive player in the pitcher’s spot in the order.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Question 1: How Do Managers Use Double Switch?

the manager replaces two players at a time: changing pitchers and replacing the last hitter to bat with another non-pitcher. But officially the new pitcher replaces the fielder, and the new fielder replaces the existing pitcher in the lineup. That way the new pitcher will be the ninth player to bat, which is done because the pitcher will usually be the worst hitter in the lineup.

  • Question 2: How Do The Pitchers And Catchers Position During A Double Switch?

move the pitcher to the right field and the right fielder to the catcher after is catcher is injured and the pitcher replacing him can hit, but has had a routing by the opposing hitters and has to be removed. The right fielder being put into the catching position has experience catching.

The Double Switch In Baseball Explained
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