2013 Reds

Titanic Struggle Recap: The JJ Hoover Experience

Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Arizona 3
Cincinnati 5

W: B. Arroyo (12-9)
L: R. Delgado (4-4)
S: A. Chapman (31)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–Bronson Arroyo was good enough. Actually, he was pretty great early before hitting a rough spot, but he finished with a quality start: 6 IP, three runs allowed on seven hits. He struck out six and walked none. I’ll take it.

–JJ Hoover pitched a perfect inning, striking out two of the three hitters he faced.

–Brandon Phillips was 3-4 with a triple, scoring two runs. Jay Bruce was 1-3 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI. Zack Cozart was 0-3 with two RBI, which is hard to do. Todd Frazier hit a solo homer, and his swing appears to be rounding into form.

–Ryan Ludwick doubled in a run, his first RBI of the season. If the Reds can get some production from Ludwick, it will help the cause.

–Manny Parra pitched another scoreless inning. He wasn’t sharp, but you can’t complain with Parra’s contribution this season.

NEGATIVES
–Aroldis Chapman got the save, but he allowed two hits in the ninth. He was saved by a gorgeous double play executed by Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto. Seriously primo glovework there.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Seven wins in nine games, and ten out of thirteen. That’s a pretty good run, but tonight’s win was among the most important of that run.

Look, no one really wants to be in that wild card game. It’s too much of a crapshoot. The Reds need to win the division, and they’re inching closer to that goal. Certainly, winning the division doesn’t guarantee anything (see 2013), but it’s just a better situation. I think we can all agree on that point.

That being said, if you can just get into the playoffs, you have a chance to win the World Series. So, at the very least, the Reds need to secure one of the wild card slots. That’s why tonight’s game was important. Cincinnati’s victory gave them a six-game lead over Arizona for the final wild card slot.

–Cincinnati is 17 games over .500. They haven’t yet reached 18 over this season. Tomorrow?

–How good has JJ Hoover been? Hoover hasn’t given up a run in 23 consecutive appearances (26 1/3 innings). That’s the longest active streak in MLB.

Once again, I ask: where are all the mouth-breathers who wanted Hoover to be sent to AAA back in April and May?

–Bronson has won three straight starts. Sheesh, I love that guy.

–I guess if you had told me Ludwick would get his first RBI on August 19, and that Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall would be the victims of the Reds medical staff, never to return to the active roster again…well, I suppose I wouldn’t have believed that the Reds would be as close to first place as they are.

–The Redlegs are now two games behind first-place Pittsburgh; the Pirates will play out in San Diego later tonight. These are exciting times, my friends.

Source: FanGraphs

71 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: The JJ Hoover Experience

  1. The line drive that Todd Frazier hit in the first inning that Kubel caught jumping in the air might have been the hardest hit ball I’ve seen all year. If Kubel hadn’t caught it, it would have blown a hole in the left field wall. If it had a higher trajectory it might still be flying.

    Todd Frazier is starting to hit too well to bat second.

    Ryan Ludwick still hasn’t hit a line drive. We’re still waiting.

    J.J. Hoover not only retired the side in order, it was the absolute toughest part of the lineup – their three best hitters. I have more confidence in him right now than I do Aroldis Chapman.

    Great start to the series, but just one game. The Reds have to keep up the intensity, tomorrow will be a tough challenge against Corbin. Looking forward to seeing that matchup.

  2. Gotta disagree with Chris Garber on the DP … both ZC and BP were equally impressive on that play. The zip on that throw after a double clutch in the air was incredible. Nice play by Zach, though, too.

  3. Cardinals stringing hits together after 2 were out in the eighth, they lead milwaukee 6-5 … and counting

  4. While I’ll take a break anywhere it comes from, in all likelihood the Reds are going to have to beat the Birds and Bucs head to head to get by them.

    • @OhioJim: I very much agree with this.

      Keep in mind that while the Reds and Cardinals are playing their final two series head to head, the Pirates will be playing the Brewers each time, a great chance for the Pirates.

      While the Reds and Pirates are playing their head to head series at the end of the season, the Cardinals will be Milwaukee and at the Cubs, a great chance for the Cardinals.

      But while the Cardinals and Pirates are playing head to head, the Reds will have a harder time trying to take advantage. During those series, the Reds will be at Colorado and home against the Dodgers.

  5. This Cardinal comeback has been sickening to watch, especially with all runs scoring after two were out.

  6. Getting back to the Reds, this was the one (of four) they had to have to avert a real disaster. Now hopefully they will go out and build upon it.

    The way some of the better teams have manhandled the Reds soft and less than really hard tossers, it is nice they got this one tonight and one has to like their chances of getting 2 of 3 to finish the series.

  7. JJ Hoover being the best relief pitcher on the staff and not being the closer has the perverse effect of giving him the highest leverage, most important innings. Yayyyyyyyyy.

    By the way, Broxton’s usage has been a little..different lately.

  8. Ronny Cedeno to the rescue (sarcasm). Padres get bases loaded on walk, double, walk and trailing 2-0, and Cedeno comes up and swings on the first pitch, ground out, inning over. Future Red?

  9. Frankly, I bailed out after the Choo (assist to Frazier) TOOTBLAN shouting at the TV “Base runners? Who needs base runners. I hate bad baseball.” and went off to sulk hoping the Reds would win. They did. :)

    Happy. Happy. Happy.

  10. I really hope the Reds have a large lead going into the 9th tomorrow cus I have a feeling if Chapman is used again tomorrow the results won’t be pretty.

  11. Speaking of Frazier’s blistering bat the last few days, this courtesy of Jonah Keri of Grantland. Love his take on Izturis’s placement in the two hole yesterday:

    “Baker has finally figured out that maybe an actually decent hitter should bat second, which is why Todd Frazier is batting there more often than not these days. Frazier is hitting a modest .234/.326/.392, and there’s a strong argument to be made that your best hitter — or at least one of your three best — should bat second. But Baker’s more likely to start a striptease Klezmer band than he is to bat Joey Votto second, so you take what you can get. We can’t take him off the hook completely, though: In the four-game series over the weekend against the Brewers, Baker batted Chris Heisey (.214/.262/.382) second once and capped the series by batting Cesar Izturis (.177/.238/.212 — a decent-hitting pitcher, basically) in the two-spot.”

  12. On this blog, anyway, the consensus on Hoover in April was that he was struggling because of overuse by Dusty, with the bullpen short handed, the extra innings, etc.
    And in May Dusty’s use of him for 3 saves was applauded.

    On June 9, when he lost a game to the Cardinals by allowing 6 runs in two thirds of an inning, to bring his record to 0-5, there was probably a lynch mob forming … anyway who still defended him them deserves a lot of credit.

    But most of the angry noise was still about Ondrusk and Parra. I agree with Richard Fitch that Price should take a bow with every Parra performance, but it would be best if he waited until after the performance (just in case, plus you don’t want to jinx Parra).

    • @pinson343:

      On June 9, when he lost a game to the Cardinals by allowing 6 runs in two thirds of an inning, to bring his record to 0-5, there was probably a lynch mob forming … anyway who still defended him them deserves a lot of credit.

      And even that can be attributed to the fact that, again, Dusty not throwing the hook out there and reeling in an obviously struggling pitcher. But instead, let’s leave him in to give up six runs.

      Yes, it is the job of the pitcher to do their job, but Hoover didn’t have it that night. It’s Dusty’s job to 1. See this. 2. React to it, as in toss the hook and bring in someone else.

      I personally have always watching Hoover pitch, the kid has top level stuff.

    • @pinson343: The Bakerman has earned any criticism, especially what you mentioned. If I recall correctly, of the first 15 relief appearances this season, the Bakerman had Hoover and Chapman take 12 of them. That is way too much and, thus, is just a small example of how poorly the Bakerman works his pitching staff.

  13. Positives—That awesome play by Votto on that ball hit right at him where he jumped backward as he caught it, spun a 360, and got the out. *snark* Seriously, how is it that the Fox producers get bamboozled by this stuff? Square up to it Joey, and use your top hand to protect that beautiful mug. If Cozart pulled that crap on every high hop, he’d be the laughingstock of the league…….Jim Edmonds comes to mind. Remember how he would make easy fly outs seem impossible? Shades of that here.

    Nice win tonight. Very even pitching matchups the next 3 games. They should be quite entertaining.

    • @Sultan of Swaff: Agreed except that Joey did not used to be adverse to squaring up on a ball, using his body to block it, and sticking his nose right into the middle of a play like that.

      My conclusion is that he has absolutely zero faith in making quick lateral movements that involve planting, lifting, and landing on his left knee. I wonder how may of those outside pitches he used to routinely spoil and now swings through like he did last night go back to the same issue.

  14. On Hoover: I don’t remember much of anybody clamoring for his removal. I know a lot of people (myself included) were completely certain that his early struggles were because of a ridiculous pout fest from his manager overusing him because he didn’t get the bullpen he wanted. After being used semi-properly, Hoover has proven to be the stud most of us have been championing since last year.

    On Parra: He is still sub-par(ra). He got extremely lucky tonight. But just as you can down on someone, you can get overly up on someone. Parra was getting played up for his performance tonight. Truth is, it was a terrible performance that we managed to survive. Yes, he has been serviceable since featuring his breaking ball, but I still get rightfully nervous every time he takes the mound.

    • On Hoover:I don’t remember much of anybody clamoring for his removal.I know a lot of people (myself included) were completely certain that his early struggles were because of a ridiculous pout fest from his manager overusing him because he didn’t get the bullpen he wanted.After being used semi-properly, Hoover has proven to be the stud most of us have been championing since last year.

      That is as I recall it, too. He wasn’t being called “Everyday JJ” for nothing.

    • @RedTitan19: I didn’t see Parra tonite. He had a great run after replacing his curve ball with a slider, using his fastball less, etc. but recently I’ve noticed that hitters have started to adjust.

      Marshall is about to start throwing again, I hope he’s able to make it back.

  15. I missed the 9th inning. Chapman got a Coco style save tonite, but it’s not clear to me that he pitched badly. The double play ball was just a tapper (incredible defense).
    Gameday describes the final out by Pollock as a “line drive”, but it was an easy pop out after Chapman finally threw a slider for strike one.
    The only problem I can see from Gameday is that he threw nothing but fastballs until then.

    Two ground ball singles doesn’t sound so bad to me but I’d welcome observations by those who actually saw it.

    • @pinson343: He didn’t pitch badly, but he did give up to legitimate hits, including one to a lefty, and didn’t strike anyone out. It wasn’t that he was making terrible pitches or falling behind everyone or grooving them down the middle, he just wasn’t terribly impressive — and these weren’t the greatest hitters on the planet. By itself I don’t think anyone would really be too worried about his performance today, but it seems to be part of a trend in the wrong direction.

      • @Baseclogger: I was disappointed that he couldn’t put the lefty Kubel away to lead off the inning, had him 0-2, then allowed the hit on a 1-2 pitch. He surely didn’t look as intimidating tonight, and that is what he’s supposed to bring from the pen.

        • @vegastypo: He didn’t look intimidating, but the pitch Kubel hit wasn’t really a bad one. If Kubel happens to miss that same pitch by an inch, the exact same pitch would seem great and we’d be saying he dominated Kubel and looked good tonight. It wasn’t as if Chapman was throwing 89 mph fastballs down the middle. He was hitting 99, throwing strikes, and mostly keeping the ball down. Not as dominant as we’d like him to be, but it’s not really accurate to say he pitched badly.

      • @Baseclogger: Brantly said he needed to elevate the fastball. Hitters can’t catch up to it if it’s up. The hits were on strikes down in the zone. Didn’t use the slider until the 4th batter (i think)

    • @pinson343: Chapman is not missing bats right now. It looks to me like the pitches are “too good” from the batters’ standpoint even if they are in the 97-100 MPH range.

      Maybe from the cumulative wear and tear of the season, he has lost some of that “late life” they talk about. But for whatever reason the pitches are getting too much of the plate at hitter favorable elevations as they move through the hitting zone.

      Hanigan and Chapman seemed to be having some sort of conversation during the walk off. Perhaps Hanigan is not fully in sync with what Chapman’s stuff is doing right now having been out for the month.

      • @OhioJim: In regard to the Brantley comment, I think Chapman could also go several inches lower and miss the bats. The Cowboy probably figures hitters are more likely to chase the high heat than the lower balls.

  16. It’s such a strange experience being a fan of this team, because every day feels as if we’re facing two opponents. One is the other team, the other is the Reds’ manager. I sometimes find I’m more concerned about the internal threat than the external one. That is, I’m more concerned about Baker causing us to lose than I am about the other team being better than us. I think the Reds have arguably the most overall talent in the league — certainly more overall talent than the Pirates and Cardinals — and I’d approach almost every game with very high confidence if it weren’t for the fact that Baker will reliably aid the opponent in multiple ways. It almost feels as if we need to win every game by at least two runs to compensate for the fact that we’ll be giving at least one run away. I’ve been critical of other managers and coaches in other sports, but never felt as if they were actively helping the opponent almost every single day. It’s very strange.

  17. I certainly have been a critic of Dusty this season for some of the moves he has made that have been baffling. However, I think some defense of him should be levied.

    Before Dusty and Walt, the Reds had a decade of bad baseball. Now I am not saying the turn around is all Dusty as the Reds brought in some good players and the farm system developed. Dusty is old school, Bob and Walt knew that when they hired him. He doesn’t care about OBP or things like that and will always give preference to the veterans. However, if you are going to blame Dusty for the bad, then you must also give credit for the 2 NL central championships he has won, first since 1995.

    I for one think Dusty has been an overall big picture good manager for the Reds. He was a big name in 2007/08 when he was hired and brought the reds consistency, exposure, and an improvement in each of his first 3 seasons to culminate in a division title. However, I think his services with Cincinnati are no longer needed. He guided the club back to a contender, and now the Reds should look for a manager to take them “the rest of the way.”

    • @abox03: I don’t understand why anyone needs to give Dusty credit for the Reds’ success. Can you explain that? If Baker decides to have Hannahan, Izturis, and Paul replace Bruce, Votto, and BP every single game, and allows Ondrusek to pitch 5 times a week, the Reds will still win at least a few games. Would he deserve credit for those wins because the manager always deserves credit when the team wins? Absolutely not. BP could manage this team and they’d win a ton of games. They could go without a manager and they’d win a ton of games. Baker deserves credit for what he ADDS to the team, and as far as I can tell he adds a negative number.

    • @abox03: That’s one reason why few don’t give him credit for the losses but for his poor decisions. It’s been said 90% of baseball managing is “by the book”, the last 10% being how the manager wants to set up his team, whether they will have a running/hustling team or not, work more on defense, work more on hitting, etc.

      For instance, Votto in the 3rd spot is pretty much a given. So, who does the Bakerman decide for the 2nd spot? Izzy? Cozart? Stubbs? Really, someone thinks those were good decisions? That’s what baseclogger meant by it almost seems like we start a run or two behind because it ends up being even harder for us to win the games. Whether we won the games or not, those weren’t good decisions. Whether we won those games or not, just consider how many more games we could have won if the Bakerman actually put a good hitter in the 2 hole. Who besides Izzy/Cozart/Stubbs? Most any one else on the team.

  18. Those mouth breathers are probably sharing an oxygen tank with the guy who said that Manny Parra is not a major league pitcher. Who does he write for, again…?

  19. Disagree with Garber on the DP. BP should get the juice and rightfully so. To make that throw to 1st while in the air, was amazing. Try making that throw.

    I do agree with Fitch on Price with Parra. As Chris Welch said earlier in the year: he always had the stuff, it was between the ears. Whatever Price did upstairs, deserves praise.

    Parra vs. Parra last night. A Parra-dox? Parra-digm?

    Finally, I wanted Hoover sent back out to pitch the 9th instead of Chapman. Never happen but it should. He’s the better the pitcher.

  20. It’s funny how Price gets so much credit for when the pitchers do well but none of the blame on the pitching decisions. You don’t think Dusty consults or defer to Price when deciding on which pitcher to bring in or take out?

    • @skatedog: Personally, I have no idea how much input Price does or does not have regarding the in-game decisions. I would expect a pitching coach with Price’s resume, status and reputation to have complete control of ALL pitching decisions, but Dusty strikes me as a manager who neither defers any decisions to anyone else nor seeks opinions from others when making decisions, other than seeking cusory or courtesy input. Unlike Dusty, Price handles external communications professionally, so we won’t hear his opinion from him, especially if his opinion differs from Dusty or WJ.

      • @Shchi Cossack: You also have to wonder if Price feels free to present “outside the box” suggestions to Baker. Baker says he lets Price handle the pitching. But if Price knows how the boss feels about – say, leaving a struggling starter out there so he can get a Win – would Price feel comfortable suggesting to something to Baker that he knows wouldn’t be well received. On the other hand, maybe it’s Price lobbying to get the pitchers wins. We don’t know. It’s just speculation either way.

        About Price, just because he’s fantastic at developing the pitchers doesn’t mean he’s good at tactical decisions during the game.

      • Great points all of you. Yes we don’t know how all of the decisions are made & its just our opinions. I just feel as a veteran manager like Dusty would let his experienced pitching coach handle alot more of the pitching decisions then we think. I just think it’s unconscionable that a manager gets no, nada, no credit for the team success but most if not all of the blame for their failures. Is Dusty a great manager? In my opinion no, but I believe he’s a good manager who’s strength is knowing his players, getting them to play for him & the team,& his overall knowledge of baseball. His weakness X’s & O’s. If he was good in both areas he then I would consider him a great manager. And to be honest, with the make up of this team & all the key injuries,I believe we’re right where we should be record wise.@Shchi Cossack: @Shchi Cossack:

  21. So did anyone else take note of Choo’s reaction after the caught stealing in the 3rd and did anyone else find his interaction (or attempted interaction) with Dusty back in the dugout disturbing?

      • @Steve Mancuso: After Choo was thrown out from her to there on the steal attempt, the replay appeared to show that Choo was expecting a hit and run when he looked into home plate half way to 2B. When he got up after the slide he appeared to throw his arms up in a frustrated gesture and once he got back to the dugout he walked straight over to Dusty at the opposite end of the dugout and tried to engage Dusty in a discussion with Speier next to Dusty. Both Dusty and Speier seemed to completely ignore Choo and Choo walked away.

        • @Shchi Cossack: Not suffering from Dusty Derangement Syndrome, let me explain what happened. Choo was befuddled at the hitter’s having apparently missed the hit-and-run sign, so he talked briefly to Dusty about it. Dusty apparently said something to the effect of “It wasn’t your fault, don’t worry about it.” So Choo sat down and Dusty resumed watching the game.

        • @Shchi Cossack:

          clearly a missed sign, as ChooChoo train thought that the hit-n-run was on. he slowed and looked to the plate, which he wouldnt have done on a straight steal. I’m sure the discussion was about the confusion about the sign and who missed it. I dont think there is a lot to talk about in that situation, other than ChooChoo saying he thought the h-n-r was on. It is pretty clear to the dugout who missed it – Choo, Frazier or Berry? Doesnt much matter now – but I didn’t read anything into how the conversation went down.

        • @hoodlum: Agreed. They were saying basically the same on the FSN feed. I was watching it with closed caption turned on and listening to the broadcast feed. Creeper had the call the call and did not mention the activity in the dug out at all. There must not have been anybody else in the booth with him to cue him in to what was on the monitor.

    • @Shchi Cossack: oohh a juicy morsel of Reds gossip! Was he laughing about it with his manager like when Zach Cozart made the TOOTBLAN a month or so back and got an atta-boy from Dusty into the dugout. #playersmanager

  22. Another banked win, its what they have to do until the next head-to-head matchup.

    Regarding Parra: I am glad he has thrown better at times this year. Its a career year for him probably. I would still rather have a healthy Marshall or Cingrani in the streach run/playoffs pitching in important spots. Parra still has a orangish tinge in my eyes.

  23. I hate to criticize Dusty after a win, especially since that brings out the “But we never won anything before he got here” crowd who tend to ignore the massive improvement in talent the last few years, especially on the pitching side. Anyway, since I won’t criticize I’ll ask some questions:

    Does anyone think Dusty would have managed Arroyo in the sixth inning any differently in a playoff game? In a playoff game where we had a two run lead instead of a 4 run lead? I say he wouldn’t. So despite the fact that it was clear from watching the game that Arroyo was highly likely to have trouble with the heart of the order the third time through, and our bullpen was well rested, Dusty left him out there and only narrowly averted disaster. It worked, and it saved a bullpen inning that may be important down the line so I won’t criticize. But I think he’d have done the same thing in the playoffs, and that’s why I fear we won’t get a ring with him in charge no matter how many regular-season wins he guides us to.

    • @Eric the Red: I agree with this. I was thinking during the sixth inning that Baker wasn’t managing with enough urgency, given the importance of the game. I’d have made sure that Arroyo didn’t face Hill with runners on base (Arroyo ended up hitting Hill to load the bases right before giving up the two-run single to Prado). What really bothered me was that Baker didn’t even have anyone warming up in the bullpen until it was way too late to bring someone in if Arroyo had given up another run or two (or three).

      Yes, it worked out in the end. But if Kubel hits a three-run homer while the bullpen is silent, and the Reds lose 6-5, that’s entirely on Baker and the way he manages.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Yup. I actually wrote in the game thread right after we took the 4-1 lead that Arroyo should be pulled before facing the heart of the order “even if it’s the sixth and he’s pitching well.”. How that can be obvious to me and not paid professionals is mystifying.

        But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on a game in August against an NL West opponent–even one right behind us in the WC standings and who maybe rolls over a little Thursday and Friday if we step on their throats early in the series. Unfortunately Dusty manages that way in the playoffs, too, and it can be deadly. That’s why if I were Bob Castellini and I wanted to go deep in the playoffs I’d have thanked Dusty for his work and hired a new Manager after the collapse vs the Giants.

    • @Eric the Red: I often don’t say much when I disagree with Baker because of the legion of would be micro managers who post here and spend their spare time looking for reasons to criticize him or look past good decisions he makes.

      However I am on board for this one time and time again.

      The one thing the Reds had to do to avert disaster in this series was get at least one “W”; and, with it all but in hand, they rolled the dice by letting Arroyo go through the meat of the order a third time. I felt like Arroyo should have been batter to batter. I couldn’t believe they let him face Goldschmidt and Hill (who had already taken him to the house).

  24. Dice-K asked for and was just granted his release by the Tribe. He’s pitched particularly well the last couple months at AAA and seems to have put his injuries behind him. Given our lack of SP depth, I’d love to see the Reds pick him up. Of course, he’s likely looking for a major league gig immediately so he can rebuild his value heading into the offseason. Dude is only 32.

  25. Worried about the Corbin start tonight. Hopefully the righties show up. Hope to see Mes in this lineup.

  26. I’ve gone just as nuts as anyone over Dusty’s mismanagement. Deciding to waste Chapman in the pen was, to me, nothing short of a tragedy. And this continuing obsession with batting our worst hitter (whoever he might be) second is the equivalent of wearing an “I’m an idiot” sign in the dugout. However… Does he not deserve a little credit for the fact that this team did not put its tail between its legs and go home after the Cardinals debacle? I am not in the “give him credit for bringing winning back to Cincy” crowd, but this IS a human game. This team could have folded the tent after getting its butt kicked by the Cards. Instead, we have responded BIG TIME. There are a lot of reasons we responded, but ONE reason we responded is this manager does not panic and his players genuinely seem to like him. He may not deserve credit for winning a game in which he bats Cesar Izturis second and brings our worst reliever into the highest leverage point of the game, but he DOES deserve a little credit for the winning atmosphere and attitude that he has helped to create.

    • @PRoseFutureHOFer: Meh. Juggling the rotation so Latos pitched vs the Cardinals might have kept us from getting pounded in the first place.

      But fine. I’ll give him a little credit. Heck, I’ll give him a lot of credit–winning 97 games last year wasn’t an accident. I still won’t be comfortable with him managing a playoff series, much less a one game wild card play-in, however.

    • @PRoseFutureHOFer: With a different manager, would we expect the Reds to have been a terrible team for the remainder of the season just because of two terrible games? Seriously? Votto and Choo would just stop trying to get on base, BP would stop trying to drive in runs and fielding grounders, Bruce would stop hitting home runs, the pitchers would all stop caring if they won or lost… unless the manager helps them feel better about themselves? I don’t buy it. This team has a TON of talent, and as far as I can tell, Baker deserves zero credit for that. He’s done almost nothing to develop young hitters become better hitters (Votto clearly ignores Baker’s philosophy, and it’s hard to see how other young players have developed during Baker’s tenure), and I refuse to believe Baker has anything to do with the way our pitchers have developed. If he’s helping them in some way, everyone has sure kept quiet about it. So he stinks at strategy, doesn’t seem to be helping the hitters or pitchers get better, and you’re left making the argument that the team would just completely fold without him because they were blown out in a couple games at the beginning of August? (With a win in between those two games, let’s not forget.) Sorry, not buying it. Team has too much talent and has been playing too many lousy teams to just stop winning — no matter who’s managing them.

      • @Baseclogger: I thought we were finished after the Cardinals series, and I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t alone. If the team went into the tank after that, I really don’t think anyone here would have been surprised. I’m willing to give the manager a little credit for the fact that what seemed likely to happen did not happen.

    • @PRoseFutureHOFer: You are talking about two different things there, PRose. The decisions of who bats in the 2 hole, the Bakerman, pure and simple. Not getting down on their luck, however you want to put it, that’s the players, or players also if not only. For instance, they still won that game that Izzy was put in the 2 hole. In short, they won in spite of the Bakerman’s decision. Which shows why there is much more than goes into winning/losing a game than just who hits in the 2 hole.

      Frankly, as much as the Bakerman shows that he has his players backs when the ump gives a bad call, I doubt he does much about maintaining any morale. That’s one reason why Walt initially brought in Rolen in the first place.

  27. “Zack Cozart was 0-3 with two RBI, which is hard to do.” Sad, true and hilarious all at once.

  28. Lots of baseball teams are resilient after losses. Managers who lose their teams are the exception, not the rule. I’ve never understood why Baker gets as much credit as he does for intangible things. Don’t other managers also rally their teams? I’m willing to admit that Dusty Baker is good at keeping his team focused on the goal and not allowing them to be discouraged by a bad game or two. But that’s Coaching 101, it’s not like he has a unique magical power.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I didn’t mean to imply it was a magic power, only to suggest it might be a case of giving a little credit where it’s due. “Losing” a team may be the exception, but we’ve all seen it happen. And if it had happened, Baker would have been crucified. Giving him a little credit for keeping the ship steady is not such an outrageous idea.

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