Showing posts with label Dusty Baker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dusty Baker. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What is going on with Dusty Baker and the Washington Nationals?

Dusty Baker
Does Dusty Baker know that playoff baseball is different than regular-season baseball? Does he have any urgency to win whatsoever?

Baker and the Washington Nationals received a huge break Tuesday when Game 4 of their NLDS against the Cubs was postponed because of rain here in the Chicago area.

The Cubs lead the series, 2-1, and the Nationals are facing elimination in Game 4. The unexpected day off was a gift for Washington, because now it can start ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg on regular rest in this critical game.

Or so we thought.

After the postponement Tuesday, Baker instead announced he would be sticking with Tanner Roark for Game 4. That's the same Tanner Roark who has a 4.67 ERA pitching in the weak National League East this season.

Seriously, Dusty? That's the guy you want to pitch with your season on the line? Should this even be a debate?

Baker also claimed that Strasburg was battling illness, because there is a lot of mold in the air in Chicago at this time of year, and apparently the air conditioning wasn't working right at the Nationals' hotel or some such thing.

Talk about lame excuses.

I can attest that the mold count is a problem in Chicago right now. I suffer from a mold allergy, and I've struggled with it off and on for the past month or so. But you know what I do? I take some allergy medicine and go to work. It's kind of an annoying thing, but it's hardly debilitating. It doesn't prevent a person from doing his job.

Early Wednesday, Baker reversed course and announced that Strasburg will start Game 4. Duh. I assume someone from the Washington front office stepped in and knocked some sense into him. Even if Strasburg fails, this is an obvious move, and it should have been announced Tuesday to give Strasburg additional time to prepare himself mentally for the start.

But Baker isn't very good at strategy, and often fails to make the obvious move. Take Game 3, for example. With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cubs had the go-ahead run on second base with two outs and Anthony Rizzo at the plate.

Baker had a number of options there. He had a solid reliever on the mound in Brandon Kintzler. He could have walked Rizzo and taken his chances with Willson Contreras, the Cubs' on-deck hitter. He could have brought in his best left-handed reliever, Sean Doolittle, to deal with Rizzo. Or, he could have walked Rizzo and brought in his best right-handed reliever, Ryan Madson, to deal with Contreras.

Instead, Baker opts to bring in 36-year-old journeyman lefty Oliver Perez, he of the 4.64 ERA. Rizzo singles on the first pitch from Perez, and the Cubs win Game 3, 2-1.

Nice move, Dusty, nice move. I guess he was saving Doolittle for the ninth inning, huh? Maybe you do that in the regular season, but certainly not in the playoffs.

Honestly, is there a manager out there who is a worse tactician than Dusty Baker? My goodness ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Buck Showalter, Matt Williams named Managers of the Year

So, Ned Yost guided the long-suffering Kansas City Royals to the World Series this year, but he still didn't win American League Manager of the Year.

Instead, that honor went to Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Can you tell the voting was done after the conclusion of the regular season, but before the playoffs?

Based upon the regular season, Showalter deserved the award. His Orioles won 96 games, an 11-game improvement over 2013, and captured the AL East title. Until Baltimore got swept in the ALCS by the Royals, it had not lost four consecutive games since May, nor had it dropped consecutive home games since June 28-29.

Avoiding long losing streaks is a good way to win a division, and that kind of consistency always reflects well on a manager. In addition, the Orioles were without catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado for long stretches of the season, and first baseman Chris Davis was a combination of bad and suspended throughout the year. Baltimore overcame all that and won its division going away.

Showalter was rewarded by receiving 25 of the 30 first-place votes on the Manager of the Year ballot. He finished with 132 points, ahead of Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels, who had four first-place votes and 61 points. Yost finished third with 41 points.

On the National League side, Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals joined Houston's Hal Lanier (1986), San Francisco's Dusty Baker (1993) and Florida's Joe Girardi (2006) as the only men to win Manager of the Year in their first seasons as a major league manager.

I thought Williams inexperience showed in a four-game NLDS loss to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Some of his pitching moves didn't make much sense to me, but again, this award is based upon the regular season.

You'd have to say Williams did as good a job as any NL manager during the regular season. He guided the Nationals to a league-best 96 wins, and his club destroyed the NL East, winning the division by 17 games.

Williams received 18 first-place votes and totaled 109 points in the balloting. Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle, the 2013 NL winner, garnered eight first-place votes and finished second with 80 points. San Francisco's Bruce Bochy was third, collecting three first-place votes and 30 points. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

White Sox injuries continue to mount: Chris Sale to the DL

I cringed Thursday night when the White Sox allowed ace left-hander Chris Sale to throw 127 pitches on a cold night in a start against the Boston Red Sox. Now, I'm cringing even more because, four days later, Sale has been placed on the disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his pitching arm.

I used to rip on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker for his overuse of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior back in the day, so I'm staying consistent with my argument. Allowing top-of-the-rotation pitchers to throw damn near 130 pitches is stupid. I know that's how it was done back in the old days, but the old days are over now. Pitchers aren't used to being stretched out like that in today's game, so don't ask them to do something they aren't used doing.

In the case of Baker, Prior and Wood, at least they were pushing to try to win the 2003 National League pennant. White Sox manager Robin Ventura was apparently pushing to try to win an April game against Boston, which he lost anyway even with Sale's effort.

I realize Ventura's bullpen has been a bit taxed lately, but here's the thing: If I'm gonna protect anyone on this White Sox pitching staff, it's Sale. If you're gonna push a pitcher who has a tired arm, push one of the mediocre or less-than-mediocre veterans in the bullpen. Don't screw around with Sale. He's the present and the future of the franchise. No April game is worth his prized left arm.

Even though the White Sox won a game against the Detroit Tigers tonight, I'm extremely disappointed as a fan right now. Avisail Garcia is already out for the season, and now Sale is on the DL, too. The mounting injuries cast a pall over what has actually been a pretty respectable 10-10 start to the season.