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Dusty Baker just managed the Reds out of a possible rally

Oct 11, 2012, 3:27 PM EDT

Dusty Baker Reuters

Bottom of the sixth inning, the Reds coming back. A Ryan Ludwick homer brings them to within three runs.  Then, Jay Bruce walks, Scott Rolen singles, putting Bruce on second. Ryan Hanigan comes up to the plate — still no one out — and works the count full.  Matt Cain is on the ropes!

Then Dusty Baker sends Jay Bruce on a steal of third for some damn reason, Hanigan either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t care, and fails to swing at Cain’s pitch, which is called a strike, and then Buster Posey fires it down to third and nails Bruce by a couple of steps. Stike-em-out-throw-em-out double play. Cain is off the hook and then after a pitching change Drew Stubbs grounds out to end the inning. We’re in the seventh now, with the Giants up 6-3.

Why Baker is sending Bruce in that situation, in that park against a pitcher who is fighting for his life is a mystery. But he gave the Giants a free out and, depending on what Hanigan was thinking, maybe two.  Just a disastrous sequence of events.

But Dusty sure showed us who can manage, in every active sense of the verb “manage.”

  1. thelucasjj - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    That was a video game move. I am pretty sure I have done that playing RBI Baseball.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      All the time. Except I was a Major League Baseball featuring Ken Griffey Jr. kinda guy. Also, Ken Griffey Jr. Slugfest was a pretty solid sequel when it comes to video games. Damn…where the hell is my N64?

  2. madhatternalice - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Bruce was simply clogging up the bases.

  3. bigmeechy74 - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I’m not surprised by this at all. I’ve always said I would have no respect in the locker room or on the practice field but that I could be employed as a “common sense consultant” to help coaches make decisions in Baseball, football, or basketball. I could’ve changed history. Last year we wouldn’t have had an all SEC football title, and the Thunder wouldn’t have lost in 5 to the Heat. I could’ve got that thing to 7. And most definitely Bruce would not have been stealing there if I was Baker’s “common sense consultant.”

    • bigmeechy74 - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      Let me clarify something…. The reason we wouldn’t have had an all SEC title is because Oklahoma State would’ve been undefeated if I would’ve been on the sideline when they lost to Iowa State. I would’ve said “Coach Gundy, why the hell would you kick on 4th and inches when if you gain 2 inches you win the game???”

  4. blazewr6 - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Nothing new baker is still the best manager the giants have!!

  5. xmatt0926x - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Absolutely right on, Craig. I’m not a Reds fan so I’m never sure if the shots Reds fans seem to give Baker at times are legit or not. This move seems to be the kind of thing they talk about with Baker. The inning is developing on it’s own. Cain is somehow unraveling and Baker says f*** it, I’m going to put my stamp on it. Yeah, the batter has to swing at anything close, but why put him in that situation to begin with? Everything is going good on it’s own. Even if he does swing he can still swing and miss and you don’t have Vince Coleman standing in 2nd base. Too much can go wrong and it did. If it’s a tie game in the 2nd inning, sure, why not. But this late in an elimination game and you’re down 3 runs, if it doesn’t work all the air comes out of the balloon, as it did. Horrible…..

  6. randygnyc - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Catastrophic. Unfortunately, Dusty’s managing is going to overshadow the Giants offense scoring six and/or Latos’ poor performance.

    • shaneleavitt - Oct 11, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      It’s not unfortunate at all for the bigger purpose. Dusty Baker can be block-headed and he’s deserved far more poor press than he’s ever received. The announcers even started blaming Hanigan, until the other guy lightly questioned Baker. He deserves a good portion of the blame in the write-ups.

  7. stabonerichard - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    “Dusty Baker sends Jay Bruce on a steal of third for some damn reason, Hanigan either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t care, and fails to swing at Cain’s pitch, which is called a strike.”

    Craig, the bolded part of you comment doesn’t make any sense. Hanigan was sitting on a full count; he didn’t have the luxury of taking a strike, whether the runner(s) were on the move or not.

    And Hanigan, as catcher, would figure to know the ump’s zone today as well as anyone, so I don’t blame Dusty for trusting him *and* putting the runners in motion to avoid a double-play of the normal variety. The part that doesn’t make any sense is why Rolen didn’t take off from 1B if the hit-and-run was indeed on. If Dusty actually put on a play where only the runner from 2B took off, then I agree it was a silly maneuver but I have a really hard time believing that was the case. Either both guys should have stayed put, or both been in motion, and I’d imagine a sign was missed in regard to one or the other.

    Most importantly, was the damn pitch a legitimate strike? Cuz I’m stuck following the game thru game cast, and it appeared off the plate on MLB.com’s tracker, so if the ump calls that pitch a ball we’re talking about bases loaded, nobody out, with a new pitcher coming in.

    Dusty’s mistake today was sticking with Latos, a guy known for lacking composure in the midst of adversity, after an error, walk & hit had loaded the bases.

    • hk62 - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Rolen was on 2B after Bruce was out – he did go with Bruce and the called 3rd strike was on the black (outside corner).

      • cur68 - Oct 11, 2012 at 4:14 PM

        On the TBS feed it showed it off the plate by a couple inches. Too close to take, though. What Hanigan was doing looking at that one is more a mystery, especially with the hit and run on (why that was on, is another, Bermuda Triangle sized, mystery. Oy).

        Oh, and everyone can get off Scott Rolen’s back now, please. Another hit for him.

    • vallewho - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      Right on..it’s called putting pressure and execution…Major failure on the execution part.

    • stabonerichard - Oct 11, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      So first off, the pitch was a couple inches off the plate as cur68 suggested below. Now certainly that’s close, and not an egregious mistake on the part of the ump, but if the home batter had gotten the call–which would have technically been the *correct* call–we’re talking about bases loaded, nobody out, with Cain exiting the game, and who knows what happens.

      Going back to the situation at hand — the Reds had Ryan Hanigan up with runners on 1st-2nd, nobody out, full count, down by 3 runs in the 6th. Hanigan had grounded into a DP in his previous at-bat, so clearly that was a possible outcome given the situation & something Dusty wanted to try to avoid. Hanigan is also a guy with fantastic strike zone control, as one of the rare players in baseball with more career walks than Ks.

      So Dusty put the runners in motion, trusting his guy at the plate who has a track record of fantastic plate discipline & decreasing the risk of a GIDP, and the final pitch of the at-bat was just off the plate. The call didn’t go the home team’s way, and it left Bruce hung up to dry. Huge moment in the game, and tough break for the Reds.

      But Dusty could have just as easily had the runners stay put, and Hanigan could have swung at the ball just off the plate and chopped it for another GIDP.

      There are plenty of valid reasons to jump all over Dusty’s managerial style & decision-making. I just don’t see this particular reason as one of them. Debatable, sure. But the headline of this article is obnoxiously silly.

  8. giantssb42champs - Oct 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Just another Dusty melt down. Giants in 2002 WS, cubs in ’03 and now this disaster. What a resume.

  9. merchie89 - Oct 11, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I am not a Rays or As fan until Baker is gone from the Reds

  10. merchie89 - Oct 11, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    I am now a Rays or As fan until Baker is gone from the Reds

  11. whodeytn - Oct 11, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    What a great job by Dusty. Biggest collapse I’ve ever seen. Just unreal.

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      Come on. The guy had a stroke.

      10 years ago. They just found out about it last week.

  12. tfbuckfutter - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Dusty Baker is terrible.

    I am still astounded by the fact that once, every 6 or 7 years, he somehow stumbles into the playoffs and people forget how terrible he is for awhile.

  13. stoutfiles - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Congrats Giants, you guys came in to our house and kicked our ass. Good luck in the next round.

  14. randygnyc - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Very quiet in Cincinnati right now. Gee, you’d think they dropped 3 straight or somethin’.

  15. SOBEIT - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Thank you Reds for a great and memorable series. It was another torture win for the Giants. No love loss for Latos who has been our nemisis, but when we did beat him, it really counted…2010 last game of the year to win the division…against Latos…2012 NLDS.

    And Dusty, sorry again. The Reds didn’t lose because of his managing, the Giants won this one. OK gotta go…champagne poppin!

  16. chip56 - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Not that I care one way or the other but Bruce may have gone on his own.

  17. uwsptke - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    I was going to repeat the old baseball adage, “Never make the 1st or 3rd out at 3rd base,” but technically it was the second out, so I guess we’re all good there. Good grief that was stupid.

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