The Subtle Game

RotoWorld makes an interesting point regarding dealing with Johan Santana, the best pitcher in baseball:

Manager Ozzie Guillen plans to leave several left-handed hitters in the lineup when the White Sox face Johan Santana Sunday.

Most teams stack the lineup with right-handed hitters, but Santana has actually been significantly better against righties than lefties over the years thanks to his world-class changeup. The Orioles had success against Santana on Opening Day when their lefties smacked four doubles off him and he’ll have to adjust if other teams catch on.

It’s interesting to see what teams decide to divulge about their strategies. But in the case of the White Sox, Guillen has a strong motivation to publicize his strategy against Santana: The Twins are a division rival, and it’s to their advantage to encourage other teams to employ a strategy which could result in more losses for the Twins.

And, indeed, RotoWorld is right, at least over the last three years. Actually, he was better against lefties in 2002 and 2003, about equal in 2004, and better against righties in 2005 and 2006.