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Dusty Baker’s bullpen mismanagement costs the Reds another win

Jun 2, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

aroldis chapman getty Getty Images

Dusty Baker is one of many managers across baseball who utilizes his bullpen according to the save rule, which means that the closer doesn’t enter the game until his team has a lead between one and three runs in the ninth inning. In this afternoon’s game against the Pirates, the Reds entered the bottom of the 11th tied 4-4. Reliever Alfredo Simon entered for a third inning of work as flamethrowing closer Aroldis Chapman sat in the bullpen.

After Pirates catcher Russell Martin reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Zack Cozart, Simon walked Pedro Alvarez to put runners on first and second with one out. In fairness to Simon, he has been good since being claimed off waivers by the Reds from the Orioles in April last year, but he is no Chapman. Chapman strikes hitters out at nearly twice the rate and in a situation where you want to limit base-advancement (made easier on balls put in play), strikeouts are king. But Simon stayed out there, only to give up a two-out, walk-off RBI single to Travis Snider.

Three of the four highest-leverage situations in the game belonged to Simon — one in the tenth and two in the eleventh. It makes logical sense to use your best reliever in the game’s most important situations, but unfortunately, Baker sees his bullpen through the unfortunate prism of saves.

After the game, Baker had this to say:

Chapman has pitched once in the last six days.

  1. tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Again, if there was WAR for managers, Dusty averages -4 or -5 yearly, and that’s being generous.
    20 years managing .526 winning % and one pennant. Few have done so little with so much.

    • junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      But there isn’t so stop looking like a fool. Did Dusty bang your mom too?

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        Too? I’m going to assume that means he banged your mom, and you’re Dusty offspring who’s all upset that your pops managerial record speaks for itself.

      • junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        Yes it does. Maybe you should look at it again.

    • paperlions - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      I think you are over-estimating the value of the average manager, who is probably worth negative wins (i.e. more responsible for losses than for wins).

      Dusty bashing is fun and all….but he did exactly what 90% of other MLB or MiLB managers would do.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        It’s probably higher than 90% actually

      • paperlions - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        Yeah, it probably is.

      • natslady - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:35 PM

        Very true, sadly. Yesterday, tied in the 9th, after two other relievers had donated scoreless innings, Davey put Henry Rodriguez in to blow up the game. Henry, very predictably, issued two walks, allowed a stolen base and a walk-off single. Our “closer” (Soriano), who had pitched once in the last week, was “saved” in case the Nats got a lead. And Davey is supposed to be one of the good ones. Now, if Soriano had pitched a scoreless 9th and the Nats had gotten run(s) against Joe Random in the 10th (Kimbrel was used in the top of the 9th), why not use Henry with a lead? For some reason, it’s ok if he loses a tie game, but not a game in which the Nats are ahead?

        Once ATL had used Kimbrel, why not bring in Soriano? If he’s efficient, which he can be, he COULD pitch another inning–unless he has a clause in his contract forbidding it!

    • mlblogsstatlover - Jun 3, 2013 at 2:53 AM

      Let’s look at it another way….Dusty was 5 OUTS away from a World Series win with the Giants and couldn’t close the deal. He was 5 OUTS away with the Cubs from going to the Series and couldn’t close the deal. He is so laid back that this affects the way his players perform. Jay Bruce misses a pop up? Votto makes 2 errors? Cozart makes an error? I know you can’t blame Dusty for player’s errors but they weren’t concentrating because of Dusty’s “it’s Sunday…we’ve won the first 2 games, everybody plays on my team” laid back attitude. There is no killer instinct. After being swept by the Pirates in the first 2 weeks of the season I would have done everything in my power to make sure I got that sweep. Another point…in that earlier sweep bu the Pirates, the Reds blew a 6-0 lead…guess who pitched? Broxton, the same player that gave up the 2 run homer to tie the game. Broxton gave up 6 runs in that earlier game. Did Dusty not remember that? One more point-one time Dusty put a player in the lineup because he had a “history” with the opposing pitcher…Marty Brenneman promptly pointed out that the player was 0 for 7 against the pitcher so he wasn’t sure what Dusty was talking about.

  2. agc99 - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Dusty blew it.

  3. blacksables - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Wow, is it possible for anyone in baseball to do anything that makes you happy?

    You are the most negative, fault-finding blogger I have ever come across.

    Geez, put down the computer and go play in the park with some kids and some puppies. You really need a reality check.

    The world don’t move to the beat of just your drum.

    • historiophiliac - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      Dang, what did Bill do to you?

      • Bill Baer - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        I did a very bad thing in his Corn Flakes

      • historiophiliac - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        I like your style.

      • blacksables - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        Exactly what I said? Why, did it come out in Coptic instead of English?

      • historiophiliac - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        You know, if we aren’t friendly, it’s entirely because you don’t choose it.

        BTW, here’s a bit of Bill’s positivity that I particularly enjoyed:

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/04/tigers-bang-out-17-runs-21-hits-in-rout-of-astros/

      • blacksables - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        bias: a particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice

      • blacksables - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        And where did the ‘we’ come from? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?

        I was very specific in my criticism, which I realize is against the commentators creed here, but I did clearly state my reason.

        Agree, or disagree, there is no doubt about the point I made.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:00 PM

        1) You didn’t give examples to back up your contention, and one negative posting does not a pessimist make. I actually posted a positive example for you. I’m sorry that didn’t make you feel better.
        2) When I commented, instead of giving examples to clarify you opted to be insulting instead. I was merely pointing out to you that the exchanges you and I have don’t need to be hostile. I would prefer they not be, but if you want to be rude, then so be it.

      • blacksables - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        I didn’t realize i was being hostile toward you, and that was not my intent. I have always enjoyed our exchanges and look forward to their continuation.

        As we (all) have a tendency to be flippant regardless of content, it is always difficult to now how anyone will take anything.

        As someone who has lived many places in the world, I have found rudeness is often in the eye of the receiver, and not the giver, and is most often put down to misunderstanding and a difference of views in a given area, and a lack of intent is usually the order of the day.

        That is not to blame the receiver, it is an attempt to explain why the giver is not always guilty of a particular offense.

        That’s point 2. As to point 1, I’ll let the evidence speak for itself.

      • historiophiliac - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        Okay.

      • paperlions - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        As you once sagely advised me: Don’t feed the trolls.

    • blacksables - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      Also, I didn’t realize the Tigers had lost today.

      As someone who grew up in central Missouri as a Royals/Cardinals fan, I have to experience the daily yin/yang of baseball excellence.

  4. catcardfan - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    You do have to admit, Dusty makes some questionable calls.

    • junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      And that makes his different from other managers because?….

      • junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM

        Thought so.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:03 PM

        Because it’s one thing to make a bad decision with good information, and another to make a bad decision due to stupidity. Baker tends to fall on the latter…

  5. junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    When in doubt, blame it on Dusty.

    Idiots

    • junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      It’s no wonder people laugh at this place when it comes to comments. Also why I’ve avoided this place for years. You commentators are idiots.

      • inversedoob - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        I’ve noticed that most comment sections are full of crazy people. And yes, I understand the implication of my statement, But you neither have to read the comments, nor respond, but you did and do. Just sit back and laugh at the comments, or do some better trolling to get your enjoyment out of it.

        Frankly the fact that you think people are idiots because they don’t agree with you, makes you, wait for it, an idiot. It’s ok I can say that. I’m an idiot.

  6. snowyphile - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    It wasn’t Dusty’s fault the Reds didn’t advance in the playoffs last season. Looks like they’ll make the playoffs this year.

  7. tanzkommandant - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    While Dusty is amongst the worst managers in all of baseball & remains in a job due to colour, he does have a point that Chapman can’t come in each time there is a high leverage situation & remain indefinitely on the mound for future high leverage situations.

  8. Uncle Charlie - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Yeah that double steal in the middle of the fifth inning rally want called from the dugout, or starting Rolen instead of Frazier. The Reds win despite Dusty’s best efforts.

    • junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      Rolen retired after last year Grandpa. Want more mashed carrots?

  9. tfbuckfutter - Jun 2, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    I’m more surprised when Dusty’s MANAGEMENT wins games.

    I have no idea how someone can so consistently suck at something, yet occasionally stumble into enough success to continue being paid to do the thing they are terrible at.

    He has THREE Manager of the Year awards.

    That’s like if Jose Offerman had 3 Golden Gloves. Or Rey Ordonez had 3 Silver Slugger awards. Or Brett Myers had 3 Husband of the Year awards.

    • historiophiliac - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:07 PM

      This gives me hope for Miggy to get a GG.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM

        If Jeter returns don’t count on it.

        He gets all the Golden Gloves this year.

        Because of his career body of work. And respect. And whatever.

        He’s also locked in for the MVP, Cy Young, and Lady Byng.

      • mazblast - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:25 PM

        tfbuck, you forgot the Vezina and Hart trophies.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        My bad.

        And also, while I don’t feel he is COMPLETELY deserving of being named WWF Intercontinental Champion, he DID make that catch in the stands that one time.

        So….

    • yahmule - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:19 PM

      Baker’s reputation has deteriorated a lot over the years. In his early days in SF, he was constantly praised for winning without much talent.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:27 PM

        Yeah….

        It must have been tough to win with Barry Bonds, Matt Williams, Will Clark, and a second baseman cranking out 19 HRs.

        Plus a better than average pitching staff.

        Although to be fair, the team did improve a lot through free agency at the same time he arrived, and then got worse.

        So he should get credit for that. The team getting worse, and then getting better players and improving.

        He was the GM too, right?

      • yahmule - Jun 3, 2013 at 1:52 AM

        I think he’s horrible and will always hold Mark Prior against him.

        I agree that he had more talent than his supporters liked to claim, but San Francisco’s pitching was nothing special when he was there. Where he really benefited was how his teams compared to the higher payroll Dodgers during the same time frame. Kevin Brown was probably being paid as much as the entire Giants rotation a couple of those seasons. That, probably more than anything else, boosted the media perception of his abilities.

  10. mazblast - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Where Dusty’s “by the book” management style betrayed him today was in the 8th inning. Two out, one on, 2 run lead, Broxton on the mound, Garrett Jones, a lefty hitter who’s miserable against lefty pitchers, batting. Dusty could have brought Chapman in then to face Jones, then left him in for the ninth. It’s probably only ONE extra batter, and it’s not as if Chapman has been overworked lately.

    So what does Dusty do? He does the “ninth inning and ninth inning only” bit. Broxton stays in, Jones becomes the first Pirate EVER to hit a fair ball into the Allegheny River on the fly, tie ballgame.

    Now, I’m not a Dusty fan, but I have to defend the 11th inning decision. It was a tie game, so who knows how long the game is going to go even if they get Snider out. Simon has been pitching well lately, and he’s the closest the team has to a “long man”. He had gone 2.2 IP at that point but didn’t look done. Dusty also has to remember that game a few years ago in which he micro-managed the bullpen and used it up early into extra innings (something like five relievers in three innings or less) in San Diego, the “Dusty burned out Aaron Harang by using him for four innings in relief” game they lost in 17.

    Another point where Dusty mismanaged today was in pulling Mat Latos after 94 pitches. Dusty always complains about Latos “hitting the wall” after 90 pitches or so, but never lets him try to break through the wall. I can see how Latos can be upset about that, especially since the otherwise fine bullpen has blown four or five games in which he left with a lead.

    We won’t even go into his leaving Cesar Izturis in to hit late in the game.

  11. sportsfan18 - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Besides Dusty’s record of mismanaging his bullpen (there are many articles on line about this), he’s mismanaged the top of his lineup for yrs. They finally got a guy via trade for this year who has a good on base percentage. But for yrs, he didn’t care about on base percentage. For instance, with the Cubs, he used the following guys as lead-off hitters or in the two hole – his tendency to put players with a poor on-base percentage, such as Neifi Pérez, José Macías, Juan Pierre, Corey Patterson, Willy Taveras, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Orlando Cabrera, and Drew Stubbs at or near the top of his lineups.

    Baker rejected (and still rejects) the on-base percentage statistic, arguing that extra baserunners simply “clog up the bases” unless they can run well.

    I’m surprised with so few manager positions available in the world, it’s a coveted position, he’s continued to be employed in this capacity as long as he has…

  12. michaeljacksonisback - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    And this is why the cardinals win championships,and the Reds and Brewers don’t and never will.

    • thomas844 - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      The Reds have 5 championships, dude….

      • yahmule - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        And Michael Jackson is still dead.

      • mazblast - Jun 3, 2013 at 12:17 AM

        One of which was fixed, and all of one in the last 36 years. For all the organization’s woofing, they really haven’t accomplished that much.

  13. thomas844 - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Forget the fact that Chapman didn’t pitch in extras, why didn’t he come in for a 4 out save when Garrett Jones came up?

    • mazblast - Jun 3, 2013 at 12:19 AM

      Because Dusty doesn’t manage that way. Closers are for the ninth inning and the ninth inning only, according to The Book of Dusty. If you go by The Book of Dusty, no closer ever has worked more than an inning at a time.

  14. randygnyc - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Dusty sucks

  15. wardmanone - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    This much is true Dusty cant handle pitchers and we thank him for being such great manager and Dusty forgot that he didn’t invent baseball TLR did, the Cubs will never win and Brewers are horrible and remind the Pirates it’s early.

  16. jm91rs - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    I dislike dusty as much as the next guy, but this game is absolutely not on him. He put his over payed set up man in and he blew it. Simple as that, Broxton sucked today (and plenty of days this year). Not dusty’s fault.

    • jonrox - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      So you’re blaming the round peg for not fitting in a square hole, rather than the 3-year old who’s trying to cram it in there?

      Dusty’s the one deciding when Big Brox pitches. Dusty should know he’s not the dominant reliever he once was, and struggles particularly against the Pirates, lately

  17. junglerat524 - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    1,615 wins. #17 All-Time. Yeah. He sucks.

    • jonrox - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      1453 loss. #18 All-Time.

      Also, he has the second most wins all time without a World Series championship.

      • mazblast - Jun 3, 2013 at 12:20 AM

        Never confuse the issue by bringing up the facts.

  18. mrrooch - Jun 3, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Last year in the NLDS, Bochy was playing chess and Dusty was playing checkers.

  19. trollingforjustice - Jun 3, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    I’m not sure if i would have brought Chapman in for 4 outs

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