Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is a favorite target of us and practically any other funny and smart baseball blog, and for good reason. He's got a Type A personality but seemingly makes the worst possible moves in late and close situations. Heck, he even lets his team bat out of order. Still, he's been a successful manager for most of his career, and even finds a way to win games where he makes the worst moves. Take last night's contest against the Pirates, via Patrick Sullivan at Baseball Analysts, down 3-2 in the eighth and two runners on with no outs:
- Manager Dusty Baker put a bunt on with (Joey) Votto at the plate.
- Votto offered and fouled off a (Damaso) Marte pitch. He offered and missed the next. He fouled off an 0-2 pitch and then struck out on Marte's fourth pitch to him.
- (Edwin) Encarnacion came to the plate and battled through an impressive at-bat, only to strike out on the eighth Marte pitch he saw.
- With two outs and (Jay) Bruce set to come to the plate, Baker sent the reigning #1 Baseball America prospect back to the dugout in favor of...wait for it...Javier Valentin. "It couldn't possibly be the Javier Valentin with the .222/.275/.286 line," you say? It was. I watched it live. Valentin grounded out to end the inning.
The Reds put the first two runners on via a walk and single and failed to score. The sac bunt would have been a great idea if Joey Votto actually had 'bunt' in his skill set. True, he has a propensity to GIDP but let the kid swing away. He's got homer power!