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Reds Insider
From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's over: Reds 4, Brewers 1

Guess the day off did Edwin Encarnacion some good. He hit a two-run homer in the seventh. That was the big blow on day when the Reds offense didn't do a lot.

But it didn't have to. Aaron Harang went eight innings, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out three and walked none.

Former Brewer closer Francisco Cordero pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save as a Red. He was greeted with boos when he was took the mound.

The Reds have not lost any their three series. They are 6-4 on the year.

The Reds did most of their damage in the seventh.

Scott Hatteberg followed Encarnacion's homer with a double. Paul Bako singled Hatteberg in. Aaron Harang, fresh off a failed squeeze, punched one by third for a hit. That was it for Brewer starter Carlos Villanueva. Corey Patterson got the runners over with groundout. The Brewers intentionally walked Jeff Keppinger to get the lefty-left match with Ken Griffey Jr. and Brian Shouse. The Brewer got the double play ball they wanted.

But it was 4-1 on a day when Harang was pitching well.

Harang's turned into a groundball pitched today. He had 13 11 groundball on the day. He retired 20 of the last 22 he faced.

His only mistake was he threw too good of a 0-2 pitch to Bill Hall in the second. Hall hit for leadoff double. Corey Hart bunted him to third. Dusty Baker brought the infield in. J.J. Hardy bounced one up the middle that would have be a routine play. But it went for a single to make it 1-0. Seems a little odd to play the infield in that early.

The Reds had no hits and only one base-runner against Carlos Villanueva through three.

Encarnacion led off the fifth with a walk. Hatteberg singled. Bako doubled, scoring Encarnacion. The Reds tried to squeeze with Harang at the plate. Harang didn't get the bunt down. Hatteberg was out easily.


120 Comments:

at 2:19 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Does Baker understand this game at all? I sat here thinking, "well, of course you can't try a squeeze with Harang at the plate, because he's a terrible bunter and probably won't make contact." Too bad Baker didn't know that. What's with this guy? He pinch hits when he shouldn't, doesn't pinch hit when he should, squeezes when he shouldn't, brings the infield in when they shouldn't be in, etc. etc. Has he made one in-game strategic decision this season that's actually paid off? I can't think of any.

 
at 2:20 PM Blogger Bob Loblaw said...

Is MLB.com having problems? I was watching the gamecast and for some reason it is stuck in the bottom of the 4th. Also cincinnatireds.com is the same, I assume because it is powered by MLB.com Anyway, let's score some runs already! Carlos Villanueva? We should be mashing him.

 
at 2:24 PM Blogger Bob Loblaw said...

Nevermind. Seems to be working now. Go Redleggers!!

 
at 2:37 PM Blogger Bob Loblaw said...

There we go EE!! Let's stay on fire now!

 
at 2:46 PM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

Al in OH...

Hope you enjoy watching CoCo slam the door on this one after Harang goes 8 strong...

 
at 2:51 PM Blogger WVU Eyes and 'Eers said...

Actually, it seems like Harang is usually a pretty good bunter. Now, hitter, that's a different story.

 
at 3:26 PM Blogger Joe said...

Rollin, rollin, rollin, keep those Reds a rollin!

ZIPPY: I do believe Mr. Baker understands this game much better than you do or you would have his job.

 
at 3:30 PM Blogger schlemdog said...

In Dusty, We Trusty.

 
at 3:35 PM Blogger label said...

great overall win today..great pitching by harang and once again our bullpen closes it out...a few points-the reds seem alot more patient at times-they seem to walk 6-7 times a game while the pitching maybe walks 1! patterson played a hell of a center feild today and im starting to like this signing until its bruces turn!

 
at 3:38 PM Blogger ArGee said...

What the heck are they going to do with Ross? Bako is playing unconscious. He is hitting for average, getting clutch hits, calling great games, throwing out runners. Baker just can't bench him. He will probably come back to reality, but enjoy it while it lasts. I guess we go with three catchers for awhile.

 
at 3:42 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Yea Zippy, If Dusty was making all the "right" moves you suggest, they would be playing 1,000 ball instead of 600.

Aaron needs to execute the bunt. He did it later in the game, and had a great slap hit on the fake bunt.

Rather than saying Aaron can't do something, maybe Dusty is challenging him to get the job done and help himself win games. There were several games last year where Aaron could have helped himself with a bunt.

Was that a 5-1 team that we just took a series from in their house?

 
at 3:50 PM Blogger ankurv5 said...

Had exam, class, etc. Soooo refreshing to come back to this! Way to make a statement to start off the year in the NL Central!

 
at 3:58 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

good game,,i wonder what the EE bashers from the previous posts will have to say now

did they walk keppinger to get to griffey ?

go Reds

 
at 4:00 PM Blogger John said...

I feel bad for Votto, I'm sure he loves being a highly touted prospect Pinch Hitter.

 
at 4:03 PM Blogger NVreds said...

Zip - harang is a good bunter, I've watched him sacrifice countless times. What made you think he wasnt? bunting is not an automatic thing, you would struggle with it too. harang will bunt fine this year, just like last year.

Dusty has been doing fine, I like his moves way better than narrons

 
at 4:07 PM Blogger Red Faced said...

I have not looked it up but didn't Harang lead the staff in sac bunts last year? I know he wasn't much of a bunter when we first got him but I thought he had gotten much better.

Either way I thought it was a very good call with the pitcher batting. If you pitch in the NL you better learn how to bunt. Harang should have been able to at least make contact.

I'm surprised we pulled this one out with the top of the lineup going 0-for. But Harang was pitching well.

Makes me really wish we could have pulled out the opening game with Cueto pitching so well that night. Oh well, good series. Now let's remind the Pirates that they will be looking up at us ALL season. Go REDS!!!

 
at 4:14 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

A monkey could manage better than Narron.
ST CSA

 
at 4:15 PM Blogger mandatalksalot said...

Jackblueash---im sure i count as one of the "EE bashers" you refer to, though I don't like the term because I have nothing against EE, I just dont think he should be starting. His homerun today was great (as was his walkoff a week ago). EE has come through in big moments on occasion every year, and is certainly not a "chump"...he is, however, incredibally inconsistent (EVERY year), and horrible on defense (consistently). Meanwhile, while he does have some pop in his bat, not enough to make up for a mediocre hitter for average--and a streaky one at that. He SHOULD be starting at 3B until Gonzo comes back, then its Kepp at 3B and Gonzo at short.....with an occasional day of EE at 3B and Kepp/Gonzo at short. Im not out to get EE, and its not like I think he sucks and shouldnt be playing at all (his name isn't Freel)....but he is not the locked-in starting 3B for a playoff team.....and Id like to be a playoff team

 
at 4:17 PM OpenID dudeworldorder said...

"I feel bad for Votto, I'm sure he loves being a highly touted prospect Pinch Hitter."


I don't feel bad for him, if he wants to get out of that spot he'll have to earn it.


I love all the Dusty bashers on here. He has one of the best winning percentages of active managers, he is continuing that streak here, and sitting at home behind your keyboard you think you know more than him.

Do you suppose people like that think they just weren't fortunate enough to manage, and Dusty lucked into managing. That if they somehow were given the chance they could have been a more successful ML manager because they know so much about the game? I think they know the real truth, and griping on the internet fills some frustration in their 9 to 5 life...

 
at 4:22 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Joe:

Your "logic" leaves quite a bit to be desired. Baker didn't have this job at this time last year, Narron did. Does that mean Narron understood the game better than Baker at this time last year? And then Mackanin briefly understood the game better than both of them? But now Baker understands it better than either of those two guys? Is that how it works? Whoever's managing the team must understand the game better than anyone who isn't managing it?

The fact is, I wouldn't have asked Harang to squeeze in that situation. I said it out loud as Harang came up to the plate. Seemed pretty obvious to me. (Does anyone other than me remember Harang striking out on a bunt attempt earlier this year? And has anyone else noticed that he's actually been making some decent contact when he swings?) The fact is, I got it right, and Baker got it wrong. Sorry you can't admit that. The Milwaukee TV announcers (who, incidentally, have many years of baseball experience) also found it a very odd move, since, as they pointed out, Patterson was due up next, and the worst case scenario was Patterson at the plate with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. I guess they also fail to understand the game as well as Baker?

Today was a great win, but it had nothing to do with Baker's strategy. He's made a series of questionable and blatantly bad decisions, and I'm still waiting for someone to name a single in-game strategic decision that actually worked out. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least a dozen that failed, including several that seemed like pretty obviously bad decisions at the time.

 
at 4:24 PM Blogger T-Mac said...

The Reds brass will have quite the conundrum when Ross and Gonzo are both healthy. I suspect Valentin could go on the DL when Ross returns to buy some time, but who goes to make room for Gonzo? Any thoughts out there?

 
at 4:32 PM Blogger kgriz said...

EE is tough to figure out. Everytime I get down on him he comes through in the clutch with a big hit or homer. Harang just being Harang today...awesome.

 
at 4:35 PM Blogger pootyhead said...

I am a monkey and I am offended by that comment.

You'll have to wait for all the bashers until the Reds experience their first extended losing streak.

 
at 4:36 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

The Brew Crew was 5 and 1 when the Redlegs came to town.

Now, they get the Mets while we get PIT, good chance to pull even or get ahead.

The Cards have an easy schedule this month with 16 games against either HOU, SF, or WSH, but they will come back to reality before too long.

If the Reds can improve as the season goes on, they have a shot.

CHI and MIL can be better than they have shown but it doesnt look like they are far and away better than the Reds.

If I seem a little too focused on the standings its because the only way this season goes well for the Reds is if they stay even or within a few games. The only way they do that is to treat each month like a mini-season.

They need to crawl into the top two by the end of the month so they dont have to play catch up next month.

Lets hope they can do it.

GO REDS!

 
at 4:42 PM Blogger mentalmidget said...

I thought the squeeze was a GREAT call! Harang is a good bunter. He just didn't execute. From time to time, that happens in any level of baseball, as we all know. How about the starting pitching? Looking good! Coco is earning his money, too! Go Reds!!!

 
at 4:45 PM Blogger NVreds said...

"Off the top of my head, I can think of at least a dozen that failed, including several that seemed like pretty obviously bad decisions at the time."

so name them, and not pinch-hitting for cueto doesnt count, because that decision ended up working out.

 
at 4:49 PM Blogger NVreds said...

"Does anyone other than me remember Harang striking out on a bunt attempt earlier this year?"

yes, I don't care he bunted successfully way more often last year than you think, obviously since you think he can't bunt. 2 times doesn't mean he sucks. I can think of at least 8-10 times I've seen him sacrifice. he even pinch hit once just so he could get a bunt down (last yr). remember that?

 
at 4:51 PM Blogger Zippy said...

I've never had ANYONE criticize my managing skills, while he's had MILLIONS of people question his, and I've never had a team choose not to renew my contract, while he's had TWO teams that seemed perfectly happy to let him leave. I guess this must prove I know more than he does.

Harang has a grand total of 24 lifetime sacrifice bunts in approximately 350 plate appearances. He's obviously not the world's worst bunter, but it certainly shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that he might miss on a bunt attempt. Given that a ground ball scored a run, and Patterson was due up next, he should have been swinging.

And I'm STILL waiting for any of you Baker supporters to name an in-game strategic decision that actually worked. If he's such a brilliant manager, you ought to be able to name a few of his brilliant strategic decisions.

 
at 4:58 PM Blogger IrishFlash said...

Zip:

Manager makes decision. Player executes. Manager is a genius.

Manager makes decision. Player fails to execute. Manager is an idiot.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I guess for some, Dusty is in a no win situation.

 
at 5:02 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Squeeze bunt in that situation was the perfect call.
ST CSA

 
at 5:03 PM Blogger REDLEGS said...

Zippy maybe you should ask yourself do i even understand this game at all. Baker has been phenomenal. He has been the best manager this city has had since Lou Pinella . This team is more excited KNOWING they can really compete every game and expect to go to the playoffs. This team can do it under the management of Dusty Baker. Stop being a hater but a fan.
GO REDS!!!

 
at 5:10 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Harang, for the record, had 11 sacrifices last year -- most on the Reds. Only eight pitchers in the majors had more.

To say Baker didn't make one in-game decision that went right in ludicrious. The team is 6-4 and a manager makes about 100 calls a night.

Last night, he had Phillips and Dunn running in the second. It led directly to two runs.

 
at 5:17 PM Blogger NVreds said...

"Last night, he had Phillips and Dunn running in the second. It led directly to two runs."

It looked to me that phillips was running on his own, he read the pitcher and got a great jump, maybe dusty called it, dunn was not running when phillips went, which is why i thought phillips went on his own. later dusty called a hit and run with dunn going, keppinger struck out (I think), dunn got to second.

 
at 5:22 PM Blogger deathcabforkanye said...

Everyone needs to remember that Dusty Baker doesn't go by any book. He doesn't care about on base percentage as evidenced by having Patterson lead off. All that being said though, he is a great manager and brings intangibles. Every else goes by the book and thats what viewers know who like to think they know what to do in every situation. Baker is a good manager. Don't freak out every time he does something that goes against what they teach you in little league. I don't even know what to say about our pitching. I'm trying not to get too excited but I think its reasonable to seeing what our starters and bullpen has done and the depth we have in the minors.

 
at 5:26 PM Blogger NVreds said...

"I'm STILL waiting for any of you Baker supporters to name an in-game strategic decision that actually worked. If he's such a brilliant manager, you ought to be able to name a few of his brilliant strategic decisions."

I'm STILL waiting for you to identify all these questionable calls, I guess you can't because your just making up stuff to support your argument.

 
at 5:29 PM Blogger outtatown tim said...

I thought the suicide squeeze was a great call too ... especially if Milwaukee didn't expect it. I think there was a high probability that the Reds would have gotten nothing if Harang went up hitting. There was a strong likelyhood he would strike out (which he ultimately did) and then you are resting your chances on Patterson to get them in. If you just consider probabilities, a squeeze was the smart play -- you are much more likely to score A run, but it diminishes the chances of a big inning. Overall, I'd say it was a good call. If I'm a manager, I expect my pitchers to be able to get a bunt down.

 
at 5:30 PM Blogger mapes said...

Here's the deal with Dusty: He's a great "people" person, excellent communicator and motivator...and that's probably good enough. He is NOT a good stategy guy---most obvsious is his insistence to bat guys like Patterson/Pierre/Neffi Perez at the top of his lineups because they can run...Go read the article about Bochy at Baseball Prospectus.com. Seems he too, is not a good strategy guy so Dusty's not alone. It could be the intangibles Dusty offers outweighs his actual strategies. And yes, I am glad they are 6-4...

 
at 5:32 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

About Baker and his decisions:

Baker was only "wrong" because Ranger didnt get the bunt down.

If he did, ZIPPY would be wrong.

As John mentioned, 100 calls a night, some will be wrong, get over it.

As long as the few wrongs dont result in more losses than wins then Dusty is doing fine. So far, they havnt.

 
at 5:33 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

NVreds. I would not call Aaron a "good bunter"

He is fair bunter at best.

Greg Maddux is a good bunter. I think he had 3 sacs in a game versus Harrang last year, and Aaron couldn't get one of the 2-3 opportunities he had

 
at 5:41 PM Blogger redsfan8557 said...

Has anyone got the new Nuxy book, its a very good. Lots of good stuff in there

 
at 5:44 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

ZIpp,

You are the only one upset about Baker.

Is everyone on here wrong but you?

 
at 5:48 PM Blogger Steve said...

Dusty bashers are probaby racist. It's the only thing I can think of because really, what's he down wrong? Nothing! Give me a break. So tired of you Baker cry babies. Best manager we've had since Trader Jack so shut-up.

Gosh, calling Bob Boone, Jerry Narron, et al! Zzzzzzzzzzzz....

 
at 5:50 PM Blogger Zippy said...

nvreds:

I'm not going to waste time listing the bad decisions I can think of, because you'd just dismiss them as irrelevant. You'll just have to trust that I'm thinking of plenty. Meanwhile, you said: "not pinch-hitting for cueto doesnt count, because that decision ended up working out." Um, I guess if you consider Cueto not getting a hit, and then giving up a home run to the next batter he faced, and then being lifted after facing one more batter, and the Reds losing the game to be a case of a decision "working out," then, yes, it worked out. If all of Baker's decisions "work out" as well as that one did, the Reds never win another game.

John Fay:

Harang was among the league leaders in plate appearances for pitchers, so of course he's also going to be among the league leaders in sacrifice bunts. That doesn't make him a good bunter. That puts him about on par with other pitchers' bunting abilities, but most pitchers aren't especially good bunters. Norris Hopper is a good bunter. Carl Crawford is a good bunter. Harang is NOT a good bunter. I'm sure he'd even tell you so. And I'm sorry, but asking (or allowing -- do you know for a fact that Baker called for a steal?) a speedy runner to try to steal a base doesn't exactly qualify as a "strategic decision." I imagine just about any manager in the world would give BP the green light to steal in that situation. I'm talking about the TOUGH decisions -- the ones that separate bad or average managers from the good ones. Flipping a coin will give you the "right" decision 50% of the time, but that doesn't mean a coin is a decent manager.

 
at 5:54 PM Blogger Zippy said...

death:

I'm not talking about managing "by the book." I think the book is wrong a lot, too. I'm talking about using common sense. Harang recently struck out trying to bunt. It doesn't take a "book" to figure out that he might not manage to get a bunt down in that situation, and that the rally is basically over if he fails to get that bunt down. All it takes is common sense.

 
at 6:02 PM Blogger NVreds said...

"I'm not going to waste time listing the bad decisions I can think of, because you'd just dismiss them as irrelevant. You'll just have to trust that I'm thinking of plenty. Meanwhile, you said: "not pinch-hitting for cueto doesnt count, because that decision ended up working out." Um, I guess if you consider Cueto not getting a hit, and then giving up a home run to the next batter he faced, and then being lifted after facing one more batter, and the Reds losing the game to be a case of a decision "working out," then, yes, it worked out. If all of Baker's decisions "work out" as well as that one did, the Reds never win another game"

Dusty saved his bench with that move, then used it to get to extras, that was brilliant managing. Then the hitters/weathers blew the game, not dusty. ended up saving his bullpen for a long 10 game road-trip too.

All these things I'm supposed to just trust you on ARE probably irrelevant, which might be why I would dismiss them.

seriously who do you want managing this team? some garbage retread?

"Flipping a coin will give you the "right" decision 50% of the time, but that doesn't mean a coin is a decent manager." - this doesnt support your argument, it probably hurts it if anything.

 
at 6:03 PM Blogger tom dunne said...

"Baker has been phenomenal. He has been the best manager this city has had since Lou Pinella ."

Davey Johnson: 2039 games, .564%, 1 ring.
Dusty Baker: 2213 games, .528%, 0 rings.

Additionally, Johnson had a winning record with ever team he managed. Baker was a loser with the Cubbies, going .497% in four years there.

 
at 6:03 PM Blogger Scott said...

Zippy -

You should zip it. Baker has been a great manager. He has made the right moves to the bullpen, right moves on the batting order, & has the Reds at 6-4, against very good competition.

Also, Baker was exactly right on Corey Patterson -- that guy is an asset to this team.

EE couldn't bunt the other day as well. Harang, likely had a better chance with a bunt, than a hit & Baker took a chance. So what... That's what managers do.

 
at 6:03 PM Blogger Scott said...

Zippy -

You should zip it. Baker has been a great manager. He has made the right moves to the bullpen, right moves on the batting order, & has the Reds at 6-4, against very good competition.

Also, Baker was exactly right on Corey Patterson -- that guy is an asset to this team.

EE couldn't bunt the other day as well. Harang, likely had a better chance with a bunt, than a hit & Baker took a chance. So what... That's what managers do.

 
at 6:20 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Kevin et al.,

Mapes notes that I'm not alone in thinking Baker's strategic decisions are usually bad ones. Plenty of people agree with me.

In Baker's last 172 games, his record is 72 and 100. His last two seasons were losing ones. I don't think this is proof that he's a bad manager, but a 6 and 4 record with the Reds certainly isn't proof that he's a good one. The Reds have a LOT of talent. If they put a cactus in uniform and called it "manager," the Reds would still win most games that Harang pitches. It isn't evidence of the Cactus's managerial skills.

 
at 6:22 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

John:
Why is Ross playing at Sarasota instead of Louisville? Wouldn't it be better to have him hitting against AAA pitchers? Or do the Reds just figure that it doesn't matter who he hits against? Unless the pitcher hits his bat he is going to swing and miss anyway.

Bako has played fantastic, but we all know that it won't last. I think they need to just leave Ross where he is (or AAA) until Bako quits hitting. Reds can't afford another .200 hitter on the bench.

I still think Votto needs to play everyday and Hatteburg needs to be moved. Two LH first basemen makes no sense at all especially since Hatteburg has no versatility.


ST CSA

 
at 6:24 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

narron.. would have been a good manager if he only had the players to manage

lets look forward and quit fighting

go Reds

 
at 6:40 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Scott,

True, the Reds are 6 and 4. If Baker is to thank for that, is it fair to assume he was a horrible manager two years ago when his talented Cubs team went 66 and 96? Were those 96 losses all just due to bad luck, while his 6 wins are due to his brilliance?

The point is: records aren't an especially good way to determine a manager's ability. You need to look at what he DOES, not just how the games turn out.

 
at 6:58 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I have not asked why Ross is in Sarasota but the reds have their year round rehab facility there. the weather may be a factor as well.

 
at 7:06 PM Blogger NVreds said...

"narron.. would have been a good manager if he only had the players to manage" - mckanin had the same players and had a winning record, including some key injuries late.

"The point is: records aren't an especially good way to determine a manager's ability. You need to look at what he DOES, not just how the games turn out." - this I agree with, i credit the players with the six wins, however they look way more prepared than they did last year. again, narrons fault.

I thought the homer cueto gave up was earlier in the game, I'm not right every time, neither is baker. he doesnt need to be right all the time to be a good manager, so long as he keeps the players from reverting to all the bad habits I saw all last year, he's done his job. The manager offers a lot behind the scenes we don't see, dont just judge him by his onfield moves. plus he made the right moves when we had the come back against the Dbacks, didnt give up on the game and used his closer in a nonsave situation because he was still trying to win.

I want a manager not to be scared to make a controversial call. Its refreshing to see.

He lost 100 out of last 172 games, & still has a winning record as a manager, pretty solid in my opinion.

if not baker, who should be manager? we could probably criticize him too.

 
at 7:09 PM OpenID dudeworldorder said...

"Scott,

True, the Reds are 6 and 4. If Baker is to thank for that, is it fair to assume he was a horrible manager two years ago when his talented Cubs team went 66 and 96? Were those 96 losses all just due to bad luck, while his 6 wins are due to his brilliance?

The point is: records aren't an especially good way to determine a manager's ability. You need to look at what he DOES, not just how the games turn out."



That's brilliant! You take is Dusty makes horrible decisions, but he doesn't effect the outcome of the game?


He has a great record as a manager but it has nothing to do with his managing ability?


Well if he is an awful manager and we just get the winning percentage that normally follows him(because I know it's not his doing), I'll take it!

 
at 7:20 PM Blogger BATSFAN said...

Bats have just scored 4 in the top of the 1st, they are so good its not evan fair towards the IL lol. Bats went in 2-2 and SWB Yanks were 4-0 bats are about to sweep a 4 game series!

 
at 7:37 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

Dusty's last 172 games were with the Cubs, WITHOUT Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Derrick Lee, and others.

If you take Beckett, DiceK, and I dont know, say, Manny off the Red Sox how will they do?

Also, Baker led the Giants to the Series with a team not that different from our little team in Cincy.

One more thing, any players say Dusty is not a good manager?

 
at 7:58 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

One more tidbit about Dusty's 06 Cubs

Zambrano won 16
Maddux won 9
Noone else even sniffed double digits.

Aramis Ramierez had 119 RBI,
Jaque Jones had 81
Noone else had more than 60

Team BA was .268

Pretty hard to win that way.

 
at 8:03 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

tom dunne, 497 % is a good record for the cubs. those losers.

245% is a good record with the cubs. The cubs have peaked, with Dusty as Manager, but face it, they are the cubs, and even sweet lou can't save them.

As far as good Dusty decisions, he squeezed and lost. With the same player, he put the bunt on and had Aaron hit.

2 decisions, 1 good result, 1 bad result, same player.

 
at 8:24 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Belisle is at AA Chattanooga tonight and already has 11 ground-ball outs out of 12 possible. He's given up 1 run in the first and has a 5-1 lead.

 
at 8:26 PM Blogger Zippy said...

dude,

My take is that it's possible for a bad manager to win a lot of games if he's got a lot of talent, and it's possible for a great manager to lose a lot of games if he has no talent. Is Baker a good motivator? I have no idea. Is he a good teacher of fundamentals? I have no idea. What I do know is that he's made a lot of strategic decisions that haven't made sense to me, and almost all of them have turned out badly. I'm sorry that so many people are offended by this fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.

Take today's game, for example. The Reds won primarily because one of the league's best starters and one of the league's best relievers completely shut down the Brewers' offense. That had nothing whatsoever to do with Baker's strategic decision-making. Likewise, none of the four runs had anything to do with in-game strategic decisions. Baker only made two tough decisions in this game -- one was Harang's squeeze, which failed, and the other was picking Votto to pinch hit for Harang, and Votto made an out. This game was won DESPITE Baker's decision-making, not because of it.



Kevin,

It's been frequently pointed out that Baker's decisions might have had a lot to do with the Cubs' injuries. I'm not entirely buying that, but it seems plausible. Regardless, you're only helping to drive my point home. When Dusty has great players and they stay healthy, he wins. When he doesn't, he loses. That doesn't make him a great manager. That makes him a manager who's able to fill out a lineup card.

 
at 8:46 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Watching the Louisvill Bats and Matt Maloney tonight. He looks decent and has a 4-1 lead in the 5th. This organization really has it together now!

 
at 8:51 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

Other than Bonds, (subject to opinion) point out the geat players on the 02 Giants.

Staff:
Livan Hernandez
Russ Ortiz
Kirk Rueter
Ryan Jensen
Jason Schmidt

Closer: Rob Nen

Starters:
Benito Santiago
1B J.T. Snow
2B Jeff Kent
3B David Bell
SS Rich Aurilia
LF Barry Bonds
CF Tsuyoshi Shinjo
RF Reggie Sanders

 
at 8:53 PM Blogger Zippy said...

And Kevin....

When was the last time you heard a player criticize ANY manager's strategic decisions? The only time players seem to complain about managers is when they don't feel that they're being treated well, personally. I can't recall ever hearing a player complaining about a manager making a lot of strategic mistakes. So I guess this means every manager is great? Did any of Narron's players criticize his within-game strategic decisions? I don't think so. I guess he must have been a brilliant manager.

 
at 8:55 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

"When Dusty has great players and they stay healthy, he wins. When he doesn't, he loses.

Same can be said for:

Sparky
Torre
Pinella (Tampa)
Lasorda
Billy Martin
LaRussa


the list goes on and on...

 
at 8:57 PM Blogger Mutaman said...

"And I'm STILL waiting for any of you Baker supporters to name an in-game strategic decision that actually worked. If he's such a brilliant manager, you ought to be able to name a few of his brilliant strategic decisions."

Please, you're just embarrasing yourself.

Just off the top of my head:

1. Picking up Patterson.
2. The hit and run with Phillips on second last night.
3. His bullpen management in the 6-5 win over Arizona.
4. His use of Mike lincoln in Cueto's first win.
5. His decision to pull Fogg after 5 last night and his confidence in Lincoln.
6. his sitting EE for one game and the results today.

Want more?

 
at 9:11 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

I can fill out a lineup card, can I manage?

 
at 9:16 PM OpenID dudeworldorder said...

"What I do know is that he's made a lot of strategic decisions that haven't made sense to me,"





At least you can admit it. They didn't make sense to you.Most of us know there are hundreds of decisions made during a game, the fact that you can only point out a couple that didn't work shows you lack an understanding.

 
at 9:19 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

Zip said,

"When was the last time you heard a player criticize ANY manager's strategic decisions?"

Didnt say they would, said "good manager". Anyone who has played for him says he knows how to manage. If it was only about "in game strategies" I guess you would be the manager.

 
at 9:23 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Kevin,

Other than Bonds (and that's a pretty big "other than"), Kent is a Hall-of-Famer, Santiago and Aurilia have both been all-stars, Snow was a great defensive player (and had some great offensive years, too), and I seem to recall Reggie Sanders being an outstanding player as well. Schmidt has been an all-star, Ortiz has been an all-star, and Reuter and Hernandez were good pitchers in those days. That was a playoff-caliber team no matter who managed it.

 
at 9:24 PM OpenID rlow1 said...

Zippy, you mentioned Baker's decisions not making much sense to you...

Are you the internet baseball God?

I was wondering why his moves had to make sense to you for them to be the correct ones...

 
at 9:27 PM OpenID rlow1 said...

Zippy you mentioned Dusty's decisions not making sense to you...who the heck are you?

Are you the internet baseball God?

What is your MLB managerial record?

 
at 9:32 PM Blogger NVreds said...

if votto not getting a hit in a pinch hit AB is your proof dusty can't manage, well then your insane. He also hit the ball pretty hard right at somebody, something he did yesterday too. both were good strokes, just at an outfielder. apparently baker has no clue what he's doing.

I guess you were right i would just dismiss your list, well theres one, got any more?

 
at 9:45 PM Blogger NVreds said...

"Did any of Narron's players criticize his within-game strategic decisions?"

Conine looked pissed after narron barely stuck up for him. Aurilia left the reds because of him. most likely if anyone ever criticizes a manager it would happen in private. I would have if I were a player on the team midseason last year.

 
at 9:50 PM Blogger Joe said...

Redsfan 8557: I got the Nuxhall book and I agree, it is great. Just simply a great story about a great man. The pictures and stories are fantastic. Haven't had a chance to read everything or get into the DVD yet. Saving it for rain delays.

Zippy: I can't remember your exact words but work with me on this one. You've never been fired for your managing or lost a job as manager, right? You've never had anyone, or a million people, criticize your managing skills or decisions, right? Thats good, in fact that real good. Would you mind telling us which professional teams you've managed and what your won-loss record is? Why are you out of baseball now? You've probabaly got a lot of hardware and bling to show for all that success too. Would you tell us about it? It sure sounds like you have an interesting story to tell us. Thanks.

Dusty has made a fan out of me, and I was leary at first. The man has some real people skills as demonstrated in the way he has dealt with EE's slump. He has Dunn hitting to left and center field. He made the right call on Patterson. Nobody gets to make every game situation decision correctly, that is just not how it is in baseball.

 
at 10:00 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Mutaman:

Picking up Patterson wasn't an in-game strategic decision. Foolishly having him leadoff is a strategic decision, and how many times has the leadoff hitter actually been on base to lead off a game? Once, maybe? Shouldn't a leadoff hitter actually be DRIVEN IN once in a while, instead of being our main RBI guy? Patterson would make a good #6 hitter, but he shouldn't be leading off.

You know for a fact that Phillips wasn't running on his own?

His bullpen management in the 6-5 win over Arizona? First, he left Arroyo in too long. Then he brought in Coffee, who gave up a run in 2 innings. Affeldt pitched one inning and got the win, but he threw 24 pitches and gave up a hit and two walks. Dusty is brilliant!

Mike Lincoln had to come into that Cueto game because Dusty's first choice of relievers, Weathers, couldn't throw a strike. Brilliant!

His decision to pull Fogg? And you would have left him in? I certainly wouldn't have.

Sitting EE for one game isn't an in-game strategic decision, and it certainly didn't take a brilliant manager to figure out that EE needed a day off.

As long as you're giving him credit for making all those relatively obvious decisions, why don't you credit him for deciding to have Harang pitch on 4 days rest, and also deciding to have Phillips play second base this season instead of playing him at catcher? Chalk up two more brilliant decisions for Dusty! Oh, and wasn't it clever to have Harang NOT intentionally walk all 29 batters he faced today? Chalk up 29 more fantastic decisions for Dusty! Man, that guy's good.

 
at 10:04 PM Blogger Joe said...

Zippy:

I honesty appreciate the fact you've generated a lot of good blogging today. Thanks for taking one for the team!

 
at 10:07 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

Danny Graves has been an all star,
Bronson Arroyo too.

You only have to be the best / most popular player on your team to be an all star, every team has one.

Kent: Benchmark
2345 hits 3000
367 HR 500
.290 BA .300

HOF? good posibility.


Still, they could not win a pennant without some good managing along the way.

Unless you think they won a pennant in spite of Dusty?

Maybe they could have won it with say, Jerry Narron?

 
at 10:07 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

as bad as ee's been, he's still "won" us 2 of 6 games.

great pitching thus far...no reason not to come home 6-3. i like how dusty has this team in a game-to-game battle mode. you can tell he preaches winning each and every series and no looking ahead. we've played 2 playoff teams and a bonafide contender. let's see if we get lax against a not-so-bad pirates rotation.

play votto. every day.

if you gotta hide coffey, send him down 71. bray or bailey will be just fine, thank you.

 
at 10:21 PM Blogger BATSFAN said...

Hey John if you see Wayne Krivsky tell him to RELEASE MAJEWSKI please, Bats down 5-4 it was still close and he comes in and puts the game out of reach. He gave up 4 runs in .2 innnings. Bats lost 11-5

 
at 10:31 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

All Star = best and / or most popular player on the team.

(Every team has one)

Only Bonds and Nen were all stars in 2002.

Kent, very good, very good that year too (protected by Bonds).
Jury is still out on the HOF.

Anyway, did they win a pennant in spite of Dusty? I doubt you would believe that.

 
at 10:43 PM Blogger PresidentJohnAllenJr. said...

Mike Stanton was release yesterday by the Reds. John, do you think any other teams will pick him up?

 
at 11:15 PM Blogger sabr_blogger said...

Did Dusty's copy of the Reds roster get cut off around the letter "U"? I swear he thinks Scott Hatteberg is the team's future at 1B.

Note to Dusty: play the guy who will contribute better in every facet of the game. The name's Votto. Joey Votto. Everyone in Cincinnati knows about him but you. He deserves more than one at bat a game. Get help for your irrational veteran fetish Dusty. Please. It is hurting yourself and those who love the team you are fumbling to manage. There are professionals who can talk you through it. They care and want to help.

 
at 11:52 PM Blogger ankurv5 said...

Wow, Kevin, if that SF Giants lineup isn't a bunch of has-beens, I don't know what is.

Zippy--You're fighting a losing battle, and I know you're the type that gets off on antagonizing other people, so whatever floats your boat, I guess.

The lineup every night is a strategic decision. Resting a struggling player is a strategic decision (Freel went 2 for 5, EE hit a HR his first game back and helped in another run). Taking out a pitcher having a good night after just 64 pitches is a strategic decision (10 runs scored after that). Showing confidence in a rookie pitcher to try and go out there and get a win is a strategic decision (Sure, Cueto gave up the HR, but it's a learning process). Sending your best bunting pitcher to try and support himself with a suicide squeeze is a strategic decision (Harang said Villanueva threw him a slider down and away; kind of hard for anybody to get a good bunt down on that).

And lastly, the Reds have come out with a winning record in a ten game stretch against 3 teams expected to win their divisions. But yeah, Dusty's awful because some of his decisions didn't work out. Bring the brooms to Pittsburgh!

 
at 11:56 PM Blogger Dave said...

Harang led the team with 11 sac bunts last year...for a guy who plays 30-some games to outdo Norris Hopper and Ryan Freel (albeit an injured one) is no small feat, even if he bunts twice a game. He missed the play - that's like complaining when Jr. doesn't hit a sac fly.

As for Dusty, let's keep it really simple - the Giants stunk, he showed up, they were great (Series), he left, they proceeded to stink again. The Cubs stunk, he showed up, they were great (NLCS), he left, they proceeded to stink again. $100-some million dollars later, they're no better than when he was there...he improves clubs, flat out, hands down, no logical argument against it. I'm not saying he's the best in baseball or anything, but he's a vastly better mgr. than Narron or Miley, etc.

 
at 11:59 PM Blogger Dave said...

Zippy, think a little harder - yesterday, EE gets the day off, but Dusty works his tail off hitting (til he gets a blister - that's hard to do a month in, ST should solve all of the blister issues). He goes yard today and probably starts back to hitting the .290 he did last year or better, with his usual ridiculous RISP stats. That worked, to say nothing of juggling the rotation to let Harang throw 8 innings with only 1 run allowed.

 
at 12:05 AM Blogger Zippy said...

Ok, here we go....

nvreds -- If you think I've been saying that Votto not getting a hit means that Baker is a bad manager, you're insane. Try reading my posts.

"Conine looked pissed." You're using this as evidence that Baker makes better strategic decisions than Narron? Are you really thinking this through? Hey, Sammy Sosa looked pretty pissed when he left the Cubs because he didn't want to play for Baker. So what? That says NOTHING about Baker's strategic abilities. As I said, players criticize managers when they feel they're being mistreated. They don't criticize managers for calling squeeze plays at the wrong time.

rlow and Joe, what's YOUR major league experience? Does ANYONE posting here have any managerial experience? I'm guessing not. So wouldn't that mean NONE of us should be making any judgments, pro or con? I love the way it's okay for everyone on this board to criticize Narron and reach the conclusion that Dusty is a better decision-maker than Narron, but I'm not allowed to criticize Dusty because I lack managerial experience.

Ok, let's have a new rule. Only people with major league experience can criticize players' performances, only people with managerial experience can criticize managers, and only former GMs can criticize GMs. I expect to read nothing but praise from this point on. (Mike Stanton? I'd LIKE to say he's washed up, but I've never pitched in the majors, so how would I know?)

kevin, just because someone doesn't make an all-star team in a given year doesn't mean they aren't a great player that year. Was Phillips a decent player last year? Or Dunn? Or Harang? I don't recall seeing any of them tearing it up in the all-star game. The fact is, Dusty had a great team in SF, full of past and present all-stars and lots of good, experienced players who knew how to play the game before Dusty ever met them. That's undeniable. And oh yeah, then there's that Bonds guy. He was a pretty good player back then....

 
at 12:31 AM Blogger Zippy said...

Kevin,

Santiago was also an all-star that year, so Baker had three players who made the all-star team THAT year, plus two other position players who'd been in the ASG the previous year (in addition to Bonds, of course), plus two starting pitchers who made the ASG the following season, and another starting pitcher who made the all-star team in 2004. And then add veterans like Sanders, Lofton, and Snow to the mix...

Bottom line: that was a VERY talented and experienced team Dusty took to the World Series. It wasn't Baker's genius that won all those games; it was all those good, experienced players.

 
at 1:19 AM Blogger NVreds said...

"As long as you're giving him credit for making all those relatively obvious decisions, why don't you credit him for deciding to have Harang pitch on 4 days rest, and also deciding to have Phillips play second base this season instead of playing him at catcher? Chalk up two more brilliant decisions for Dusty! Oh, and wasn't it clever to have Harang NOT intentionally walk all 29 batters he faced today? Chalk up 29 more fantastic decisions for Dusty! Man, that guy's good."

this was hilarious, gotta give credit for this.

I didnt see today's game in the early innings, in fact it was 4-1 when I started watching, the infield in? i disagree with that, though it didnt hurt anything. I'm split on the squeeze call, since a groundball did produce the run, but harang actually getting a grounder? probably just as likely he gets a squeeze, so what ever that doesn't bother me much.

personally i like to watch a manager be aggressive, and look like hes trying to win a game, instead on narron who looked like he was trying his best not to lose the game. meaning he's afraid to take a chance, hes afraid he will be blamed. dusty doesnt care, probably because his behind the scenes managing makes up for it, lets wait until one of your "questionable" calls loses the team a game, because that hasn't happened yet.

I'll come to your side a little, sometimes he might need to think some aggressive moves through, but the times it works will help us, a lot.

and if he brings in a pitcher/pinch hitter and they give up a run or dont get a hit? thats not a bad decision. thats the player's fault, and it happens all the time in the majors. you could bash every manager until your blue in the face for that stuff.

 
at 1:31 AM Blogger Dave said...

John - something for tomorrow's column. The Reds are leading the NL with only 22 walks (in 91 innings); 2nd and 3rd place are 24 and 26, respectively. We also lead with 81 K's v. 77 and 70 (though the DBacks are one of those 70s with only 9 games to our 10 - they'll get a half dozen next game). Consider Fogg already had one of his worst starts for any given year as did Arroyo and we look pretty good. Obviously Harang, Cueto, and Volquez won't stay in the low 2s for ERA all year, but still, tack on an extra run for each and get the offense going and I still can't see us not winning 90. Oh, and Cordero? I knew he threw hard, but knee-high 97 on the corner is filthy. He's mid-40s minimum on this team, maybe even breaking the vaunted 50 S mark.

 
at 2:02 AM Blogger oldtimer said...

Hey Zippy

You make a lot of interesting points. Some I can follow, others are ridiculous. You certainly show great second guessing powers, but then hindsight always tends to be twenty twenty.

You seem overwhelming focused on in-game decisions, which,I might add, you believe Dusty has completely mishandled. And there's some truth in that... in hindsight, of course. But to dismiss the day to day running of a ball club as unimportant is silly. Managing is so much more than that. Filling out a lineup card is no given, some guys are hot, other guys are strictly hunches. Positioning your team to win is huge. How the lineup is arranged, who hits where, whose turn gets skipped on the pitching staff, what kind of bench player roles are defined and implemented, who plays and who sits, how ruffled feathers are smoothed in a playing time conflict, all these things are an equally important part of a manager's job. Imparting a sense of leadership and confidence is extremely important. As someone else said, Dusty seems to have a knack for these intangibles.

Ten games is way too soon to push the fire Baker button. What do you want, 162-0? Ain't gonna happen. With the team 6-4 and just taking 2 of 3 against a hot Brewers team on their ballpark, how about giving Dusty a little credit? He played Encarnacion today, I thought he should have sat him a little longer, he's been pressing badly, so what does he do but jack a game winner? Methinks your criticism is a little heavy handed. I agree with you that some of Dusty's decisions have looked a little goofy, and I'm not sure how good he's gonna be in the long run, but every manager has his own little voice of intuition he listens to, a voice that often makes no sense to the rest of us. Jack McKeon is the best example of managing by feel I can think of. And he won a couple World Series,

Right now this early I'm just kicking back and watching it evolve. I'd like to see Votto playing more, I think he's a bona fide major league hitter, but Hattieberg's a pro, and proven, and he had a couple hits today, Sometimes it's easier to break in on a team behind a wily vet, especially one who can hit. Less pressure, a little more time to acclimate. Who knows? It's a long season, why get so worked up, especially after winning a series on the road?

 
at 7:37 AM Blogger jc said...

hey...what do i know. i wanted them to hire valentine.
i'll tell you one thing that i do like about dusty. he is talking about giving cueto and volquez some extra rest once in a while.
the guy seems pretty tuned in to me.

 
at 9:43 AM Blogger E said...

I have questioned many of Dusty's moves this year. With past coaches, I agreed with all their moves...uh, < .500 seasons. Lets let Dusty coach and most importantly, put the right lineup in and keep everyone motivated. Case in point, Griff and Dunner slapping balls in the whole. How many years was that mentioned but never executed. Way to early to call, but i am getting that 1990 buzz where we had a team that played as a team.

Go Reds

 
at 10:00 AM Blogger RickDinChicago said...

jc,

I read Dusty's comments on K-ueto and Volquez too. Pleased to read that.

Looks like the throwing strikes mentality is working throughout the Reds organization. Look up and down minor league sheets and you will see that the starters are doing very well in this regard. Still early though, but let's hope it stays true.

Matt Belisle had a complete game 2 hitter last night in AA. I read that he is out of options. I believe that at some point the Reds will need him to start.

John, any insight into what the Reds will do and when they HAVE to do something by? I read rumors of trading him and I've read that long-relief on the Reds is a possibility. However, I'd hate to disrupt the bullpen at this point in the season.

 
at 10:20 AM Blogger reaganspad said...

jc, do you really think he will give the kids rest? I thought he would pitch them each 323 innnngs this year so he can blow their arms out.

Doesn't Dusty pitch young kids on 2 days rest and only play veterans?
And Bako and Patterson are only here because they know Dusty. Those guys won't contribute to the Reds success in 08....

What happened to all those guys, and that fire Krivsky guy? must be asleep

 
at 10:31 AM Blogger reaganspad said...

One Easy decision for Dusty:

Taking Aaron out at 99 pitches yesterday.

How many times would that have happened early last year?

Seem to remember the Arroyo SD game (129 pitches) where he had to complete it to have a chance to win...

Keeping Harrang fresh will help us in Sept. but that is not a Baker in game decision...

 
at 11:38 AM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

reagan .. 2 weeks does not make a season


tell everyone again how Juan Castro should be our starting ss and how Affeldt would be the answer to our starting pitching staff

by the way reagan ..most red starting pitchers did not last past the sixth inning last year..pitch count was never a consideration

 
at 11:47 AM Blogger jc said...

tough room.

 
at 12:11 PM Blogger Zack said...

Zippy,

Wednesday night, Baker sent Phillips from second on a hit and run...ball was hit directly to where the third baseman was playing. Quote from CBS Sportsline "On the play, Phillips tagged up from first, then he took off again during Jeff Keppinger's at-bat, scoring as Keppinger's single went through the space Brewers third baseman Bill Hall would have occupied had Phillips not been on the move. "

 
at 12:21 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Ank said: "I know you're the type that gets off on antagonizing other people, so whatever floats your boat, I guess."

Do you also know what the word "irony" means? I'll give you a hint: Telling a person you've never met that he's "the type that gets off on antagonizing other people" is a good case of irony.

Dave,

Dusty spent four seasons in Chicago. The first two were very good, but they finished under .500 in the second two. His final season they were 66 and 96. And apparently you've forgotten that they won the division the year AFTER Dusty left, improving from 66 wins with Dusty to 85 wins without Dusty.

So, you can choose to dwell on Dusty's ability to make a bad team good, or you can dwell on his ability to make a good team bad. I'm not dwelling on EITHER. I'm focusing on the strategic decisions I've watched him make during his short time with the Reds, which seem to be mostly bad ones.

oldtimer,

I've never dismissed the behind-the-scenes things Dusty does as being unimportant. If the team continues winning, then it's impossible to call him anything other than a successful manager. And I do think there's much to be said for getting players to play hard and smart, and teaching them the fundamentals of the game. I've never once suggested that Baker should be removed. All I've said is that his strategic decisions suggest he doesn't really understand the game (by which I mean the STRATEGIC part of the game), and I stand by that assessment.

And no, my criticism doesn't involve hindsight. I don't base my judgments on whether a move works out or not, I base them on whether they make sense or not. If Dusty decides tonight to have Harang pinch hit for Phillips in a key situation, I'm going to say "that's a stupid decision" even if Harang somehow manages to hit the game-winning home run. And if that happens, almost everyone here will start calling Baker a "god of baseball." I won't. Why? Because I do NOT base my judgments on how things happen to turn out.

 
at 12:27 PM Blogger ankurv5 said...

Jack--Pitch count WAS an issue last year with Harang and Arroyo, they were constantly going over 100 pitches in some starts. Other pitchers on the staff not so much.

And I THINK reagan was being facetious. CP has done a great job, even though he's not an ideal leadoff man. Bako is seizing an opportunity, and right now he's beating David Ross at being David Ross (defensive catcher that can sometimes hit). Who cares if they're only here because they played for Dusty before?

And Zippy, since you've been pretty technical about everything, nobody but YOU has been saying that Dusty doesn't know how to do his job. And criticism can be positive or negative, and just because we don't have any MLB experience like you do, we're allowed to do it, but at the same time, we're not being ridiculous about it.

 
at 12:40 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Zack,

That play has been mentioned a few times before (apparently it's one of the very few good strategic decisions people can remember), but nobody has been able to confirm that Phillips wasn't running on his own. It's quite rare to call a hit-and-run with a runner on 2nd and a good hitter at the plate (offhand, I'm not sure if I've ever heard of a hit-and-run under those circumstances), so I'm inclined to think Dusty had nothing to do with it, other than to give BP the green light to run whenever he wants, and Keppinger the green light to swing, which I think almost everyone would do.

 
at 1:04 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Ank,

I couldn't quite follow your last point, but I do know this: if you look BEYOND this board, you'll find LOTS of people who completely agree with me and wouldn't find anything I've said to be "ridiculous."

If Cubs fans were regularly posting here, I'm sure I'd find plenty of support for my comments. A lot of them were very happy to see Dusty go. So what?

Incidentally, I live in Brewers country, and a LOT of Brewers fans can't stand Ned Yost because of his bad strategic decisions (such as regularly batting Gabe Gross 2nd, while sticking much better hitters like Hart and Hardy at the bottom of the lineup, followed by the pitcher hitting 8th. It makes absolutely no sense.) I CONSTANTLY hear people calling for him to be fired because of these kinds of decisions, and perhaps he should be. This is a guy who took a terrible team and made them into a contender, but the feeling is that they could be BETTER than they are, which is probably true.

 
at 1:21 PM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

Ank said: "I know you're the type that gets off on antagonizing other people, so whatever floats your boat, I guess."

Do you also know what the word "irony" means? I'll give you a hint: Telling a person you've never met that he's "the type that gets off on antagonizing other people" is a good case of irony.

Actually, Zippy, that's not irony. It would be irony if ank would've have typed that same sentence, knowing full well that you are NOT "the type that gets off on antagonizing other people". But as you said, he doesn't know you. Therefore, there's nothing ironic at all about his statement.

Irony requires some sort of incongruity between what is said and what is meant and/or what actually happened.

 
at 1:43 PM Blogger Kurt said...

Zippy, you have made some interesting points about Baker. I’m not a big fan of Baker, never have been. What I find interesting about your comments about Baker is second guessing his decisions:

“Baker only made two tough decisions in this game -- one was Harang's squeeze, which failed, and the other was picking Votto to pinch hit for Harang, and Votto made an out. This game was won DESPITE Baker's decision-making, not because of it.”

Harang was asked to put down a bunt, he didn’t get it done. You could second guess that all the time. Then to say pitching hitting Votto was a mistake is just crazy. You sound like you expect everyone to get a hit when they pinch hit.

“His bullpen management in the 6-5 win over Arizona? First, he left Arroyo in too long. Then he brought in Coffee, who gave up a run in 2 innings. Affeldt pitched one inning and got the win, but he threw 24 pitches and gave up a hit and two walks. Dusty is brilliant!”

Arroyo probably should have been taking out earlier, but two of the runs were unearned and he didn’t pitch to bad. Coffey didn’t help, but that doesn’t mean another guy wouldn’t have given up runs. Then the point about Affeldt throwing 24 pitches is just crazy. Like he knew that would happen, but who cares that it did, it doesn’t really matter that he threw 24. Didn’t they win that game??

“Mike Lincoln had to come into that Cueto game because Dusty's first choice of relievers, Weathers, couldn't throw a strike. Brilliant!”

This is my favorite by you. NO manager ever knows when a pitcher will stink, if he did he would be a Manger God. For the most part Weathers has been good and is the 8th inning guy. He couldn’t find the plate, yet that was some how Bakers fault. That is just "ridiculous" to say. You could say him brining in Lincoln was a great decision because he saved the lead.

“His decision to pull Fogg? And you would have left him in? I certainly wouldn't have”

Now this one I agree with you, I don’t like Fogg and think Homer should be the 5th learning against major league hitters and not Triple A.

So back to you saying “Because I do NOT base my judgments on how things happen to turn out.” You based your judgment on how it turned out with Votto getting an out, you based your judgment on how weathers turned out by walking everyone even the ball boy, and you based your judgment on how it turned out with Affedlt throwing 24 pitches, which wasn’t a bad turn out. To me you base your judgment on how things “turn out”.

It’s easy to second guess when things go wrong, but do you ever give credit when things go right? Baker can’t control if a pitcher will get outs or not throw more than 10 pitches. He can’t make hitters put down bunts. Harang is a pretty good bunter and he took a shot with it, considering the way the reds were hitting in that game, he tried to get a run anyway he could. What he can do is try to put what he thinks or the stats say is the best player for that situation. Weathers was the right guy for the 8th, Votto was the best hitter off the bench and Affedlt throwing 24 pitches doesn’t matter because he did what he should have done and that is keep the score where it was to give his team a chance to win.

I do love the fact that you got everyone fired up about baker and your observations. I don't think Baker is a genious when it comes to managing, but there are things he can't control and these were all examples of them. Anyway, good reading and it got me to respond. I know I will be ripped, but its all in good fun.

Go Reds

 
at 1:46 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

and John Fay lectured me on the depth and length of my postings. too funny

you all need just to go to some games and enjoy your team..much too much over analysis


team stunk last year..they should do better this year

Baker stunk his last two years in Chicago..maybe he learned from this and will do better

way too early to tell anything

 
at 1:54 PM Blogger Jon said...

Jack in BA,

Narron MIGHT have been a better manager with better players. The worst shaft was Dave Miley, he had NOBODY.



Zippy,

Dusty had no D. Lee in 06, they never got off the ground and the negativity was unbelievable. Wood and Prior were injured and it got ugly. 06 was basically a lost year. Not Dusty's fault as much as it seemed.

Stick with it, Dusty is going to do well and leave Cincy within 2-3 years for a bigger market.

 
at 1:56 PM Blogger cincinnati3030 said...

"All I've said is that his strategic decisions suggest he doesn't really understand the game (by which I mean the STRATEGIC part of the game), and I stand by that assessment."

Zippy,

I didn't want to chime in and add fuel to the fire, but your comments left me no choice. Right after Harang bunted through Villanueva's pitch, Marty and Brantley both commented on how they thought the squeeze was a "great" call. They even commented again the next inning. You say the brewers announcers questioned the call, but I personally would take the input from two people who watch this team day in and day out. Not two people who had seen the team for two and a half games at that point. I liked the move, as well as most of the people on this forum. You can disagree with moves, disagree with lineups, but to suggest that someone who has managed as many games as dusty does and been around baseball for his whole life "doesn't understand the game" is simply absurd.
The man might make decisions you don't like and he might make decisions I don't like, but the man understands the game. He understands it more than you and I ever will. If he didn't he wouldn't be a manager, not to mention a high profile manager. So criticize the move, I'm all for that, but don't say he doesn't understand baseball. Because that's where you're the one that sounds like you dont "understand the game."

 
at 1:58 PM Blogger Jon said...

Oh yeah, and the glorious 2007 NL Central Pennant cost an incredible dime, don't forget that. 85 wins was a colossal underachievement for Sweet Lou. Dusty deserved better and never got it. Its funny how little credit you allow for a 3 time MOY. HAHAH.

 
at 2:15 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Anyone else tired of the Zip Dip posts or has everyone else left?
ST CSA

 
at 2:28 PM Blogger oldtimer said...

Okay Zippy I reread all your posts to get a handle on where you're coming from, and here's what I see...

You feel Baker has made zero in game decisions that have worked os far. May or may not be true. Fair to offer your opinion. You suggest the Reds are winning in spite of his game management lapses. The players are managing to overcome his egregious errors in judgment. You base this opinion on your own ideas as to what common sense would dictate in situation after situation, outlining them in detail. Yet you say you don't like guys who manage by the book either. Which sez going against common sense is Ok too. So which is it? Seems like it boils down to whether his hunches turn out right or not. Whick means that you're second guessing, even though you won't admit it. And that you hold your opinion of game management knowledge in higher esteem than you hold Dusty BAker's seems a little far reaching, no?

You mention leaving starters in too long, bringing in Coffee at a bad time the other night, the squeeze, not pinch hitting for Cueto, etc..All these look bad only in hindsight. And everything he's done right in your mind anybody could have done, they were all no brainer decisions, and oh so obvious. But if you give a guy blame for what he does wrong, you gotta give him credit for what he does right. It's his ship, not yours, yet you keep holding him up to YOUR standard. I don't know you from Adam, but I do know Dusty Baker has played and or managed 25 years in the bigs, so I give him tons more credibility than you. How can he win in your world, unless he does exactly as you think?

Personally I got no problem with the squeeze. I like gambles, actually more like calculated risks now and then. Maybe next game Harang gets it down, feeling bad about this mishap, Maybe Harang gets that punch single a couple innings later because he's pissed at himself for letting the team down. A direct result of Baker playing aggressively. The thing is, who knows....including you? Until you start talking directly to Dusty, or he starts talking to you, it's all just maybes and opinions.

You raise good points, it's the defensiveness and inability to acknowledge anybody else's as possibly correct that loses my interest. Too many blogs end up getting deciminated by one opinionated oaf who has to be right. You seem smarter than that, and I like a fair amount of your points. A little temperance can go a long way. I'm definitely not on the Baker bandwagon yet, either, but give the guy a fair shake, and don't judge his performance until a little farther into the season. Sample size is too small.

 
at 2:29 PM Blogger emmcat said...

This thread incorrectly implies that managing in game tactics is the only or even the most important aspect of a manager's job.

A manager has many responsibilities
-choosing the players who make the team ( shared)e.g. Mercker vs. Stanton
-choosing which players play , where and when e.g. Votto vs. hatteberg
- improving player's cabilities through better coaching ( choice of coaching staff) Soto and Cuetto
-creating a sense of team spirit, playing the game right. e.g.everything keppinger does.
- managing in game tactics. having Harang squeeze.

Baker can be great at the first four but average at tactics and we win big!

 
at 2:30 PM Blogger Red Faced said...

Tough room indeed! Thought I'd add my 2 cents to see if someone could blast me for it later. I feel kind of left out I guess or am a glutton for punishment.

I for one did not want the Reds to hire Dusty. One reason I did not was, oddly enough, because of racist remarks I felt he made while a coach at Chicago. But I will say this, there is a difference to this Reds team this year from previous years. Call it "more focused" or whatever you want but I just get the feel that most of the team is serious about winning and not just cashing that paycheck.

I have not agreed with EVERY move Dusty has made and I have not disagreed with EVERY move he's made either. With that being said I have to give Dusty credit for the attitude change and I feel like overall he's made good decisions. The funny thing is that there are so many decisions that go on unnoticed that we'll never be able to debate them. We'll never find a manager who we will agree with 100% of the time and I feel Dusty has done a much better job than Narrow ever did. Narrow should have been fired months before he was. He lost the team and at times seemed like more of a spectator than a manager.

I also want to say that regardless of someone's actual experience level there are certain people who will bring very good insight and perspective to almost any topic and those who will not. The same is obvious on John's blog EVERY day. I enjoy a lot of the feedback on this blog and I read good input on a regular basis here as well as bad input.

One last note on the Harang failed squeeze play. I liked the call. I like an aggressive manager, I like putting the pressure on the defense to make a play and I like asking your guys to come through for the team. Harang just failed to execute and had he then Dusty would have looked brilliant but the opposite happened did it not?

One point that no-one has brought up is this: Last year Harang had 7 hits, 1 BB, 11 Sac bunts and 28 SO. The odds that Harang strikes out at the plate are very good and that would not have helped us in that situation. Putting on the squeeze play to force contact and try to get the run in to me seemed like an aggressive and very viable alternative given those stats. It's a roll of the dice and I certainly don't fault Dusty for doing it. Now, if Dusty calls for Harang to do so again another 3 times this year and each time he fails to do so then I'll really question him doing it the 4th time around. A manager can only hope to put his players in situations where they can make plays he certainly can not make the plays for them.

Zippity Bop, Go REDS!!!

 
at 2:31 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

Good post Jon,

Zippy, Dusty left the Cubs and they got better? Just because Dusty left?

Dont you think aquisitions like Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, and D Lee being back all year had something to do with that?

 
at 3:14 PM Blogger Captain D-bag said...

i loves me some friday!


i'd like to see votto play a little more as well, but anybody else think that hatteburg is playing now for the purpose of showcasing him to other teams...huh...well...eh...anybody...beuhler....beuhler...

as far as the whole manager discussion is concerned. bob boone and jerry narron could have a love child and as long as he was able to manage the team at a .600 clip, i'd be happy.

baseball is suuuuuch a mental game. where dusty bebop lacks in tactictioning, he makes up for in creating an environment conducive to winning - implying, keeping the players minds at ease.

6-4 is a small sample size, but he's been managing successfully for a lot longer than these last 10 games.

 
at 5:03 PM Blogger Zippy said...

Doom and Gloom,

You simply don't know what irony means. I'll happily bet you $5000 that I used the word correctly.

To the rest of you:

Most of you don't really seem to be paying much attention to the conversation. I've noticed a pattern here, and it goes roughly like this:

I say something like "Dusty has made a lot of bad moves. I can't think of any that worked out, and I don't think he understands the game very well."

Someone responds with something like "Oh, but look at how brilliant it was to bring Lincoln into that Arizona game. Gotta give him credit for that one."

I say something like: "That wasn't brilliant. The only reason he had to bring Lincoln into the game is that his first choice, Weathers, wasn't getting it done. He had no choice but to bring in another pitcher."

Then someone will say something like: "Hey, don't blame Dusty just because one of his pitchers couldn't throw strikes! You're way off base to blame Baker for Weathers' performance!"

Or someone will say "Hey, Dusty was great with the Cubs, so he must be a great manager."

And I'll say "He was only great for 2 seasons, then they were terrible for 2 seasons."

And someone will say "Yeah, but the Cubs had no defense, so you're wrong to say Dusty is a bad manager just because of those two bad seasons."


But you see, if you go back and actually read carefully, you'll notice I'm never the one to bring these things into the conversation. I never claimed he leaves starters in too long (I said he left ONE starter in too long, in response to something someone else said), I never claimed it was a mistake to have Votto pinch hit (I merely pointed out that it was one of two tough decisions he made, in order to show that Baker's decisions didn't have anything to do with the victory that day), I never claimed he should be fired, I never claimed his record with the Cubs was relevant, I never claimed Baker doesn't do OTHER things well as manager, etc. It's always someone else who brings these things into the conversation, and I respond to it, and then someone picks up on my response and thinks THAT was the point I've been trying to make all along. The ONLY (read that again: the ONLY) point I've been trying to make is that Dusty has made a lot of very poor strategic decisions, and I can't think of any difficult decisions that have actually worked out the way he wanted. Everything else I've said here has been a RESPONSE to something someone else has said. Most of you guys seem to have a tough time distinguishing MY points from my responses to OTHER people's points.

As for Marty and Jeff's response to the squeeze: did you ever stop and consider that people who are "outsiders" might be a little more objective in their analysis? I mean, every coach and every manager in every sport "knows" his team better than anyone else on the planet. Does that mean that every decision made by every manager and every coach is the "right" one, because he knows his team the best? Of course not. Sometimes outsiders have a better sense of what's really going on BECAUSE they're outsiders. Marty and Jeff WANT Harang to be able to get that bunt down, and they "know" he can get that bunt down because they can recall seeing him bunt on more than one occasion. But an outsider looks at it, objectively, and says "what the hell is this manager thinking about? If that bad hitter isn't able to get a bunt down on that one pitch, the inning is basically over, and one of their hottest hitters is left sitting on the on-deck circle."

 
at 5:19 PM Blogger Zippy said...

One more thing:

A number of people have said they liked the squeeze play because it's "aggressive." I have no problem with playing aggressively. I'm actually a big fan of squeeze plays, and I think most managers under-utilize them. But there are times when it doesn't make sense, and one of those times, ironically, is when you've got a lousy hitter at the plate. Yes, Harang strikes out a lot, so he might end up doing that if you let him swing away. But what does that tell you? It tells me he doesn't handle the bat well, which means he's quite likely to MISS a bunt attempt on any given pitch. Under the circumstances, with Patterson on deck, and a simple ground ball from Harang will score a run, I don't think that's the time to squeeze. I think the "aggressive" move in that situation is to let Harang swing. If he strikes out, you've got Patterson coming up. If he puts the ball in play, you probably score. In fact, nobody seems to have pointed out that later in the game Harang was asked to swing in a bunt situation, and got a hit. I don't believe anyone has mentioned that fact, which is odd, since it was actually a GOOD decision Dusty made. It happened after I made my first post.

 
at 6:07 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

I like the focus of the Reds under Baker also.

Jack, never said Castro was the starting SS. That is Gonzales job.

Affeldt is doing a great job for the Reds, I have no idea what you are smoking. Team ERA 3.2

The BULLPEN is better, and the staff is better, making the team better.

Looking forward to the Reds at Full Strength. The current 25 are doing a great job.

A trade deadline/Summer trade would have to be a player who could really improve the club.

 
at 6:47 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

reagan you told us castro should get the job over kepp

you told us Affeldt would enhance our starting staff

reagan type to me in July.

just picked up our tickets for May/June .. 12 games

2 chicago..2 cleveland 2 boston..all infield box behind the reds dugout

Go Reds

 
at 7:32 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

You miss a lot Jack.
Castro "is a better shortstop" than Keppinger, not what you type.

Affeldt would "improve the competition for starting pitchers, especially if he comes up with his change up."
The Reds are the team in red, FYI

 
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