I planned to post this yesterday, then the Yunel signing and Snider injury announcement came and I put it aside. So here it is.
I didn't mention this in Saturday's recap but Dusty Baker pulled one of my least favorite National League moves in yesterday's game and I thought I'd point out why it backfired on him.
In the second inning, the Jays had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 out and Jayson Nix up. Baker ordered the intentional walk of Nix to bring up the pitcher. Now, it seemed to have worked because Brandon Morrow ground out to end the inning. But it set us up for the top of the order to start the next inning. Escobar started the next inning with a double, Patterson, surprise, put down a bunt and Red's pitcher Volquez threw the ball into right field. Escobar scored and, if it weren't for a mistake by Corey, he would have been on 2nd or 3rd with no one out and Jose Bautista and Adam Lind coming up.
I really hate that walk of Nix (or would if I was a Reds' fan). I figure if you are manager and you don't think your pitcher can get the 8th hitter out, you gotta put someone else in the game. Add in that Nix is pretty lousy, even by 8th batter standards, I really can't see why you wouldn't pitch to him. Nix is hitting .178 at the moment.
Yep, Nix is a better hitter than Morrow, but you need to have some faith in your pitcher, if you can't have faith in him when he is facing a .178 hitter, when can you. And you should like the idea of having the other team's pitcher leading off the next inning. Starting the inning with an easy out cuts down on the number of things the other team can do.
Why do managers do this? Because they don't want to be fired. You pitch to Nix and he does get a hit (it is possible, if unlikely), then the TV guys get on your case, the fans call into the phone in shows saying the manager doesn't know what he is doing and everyone says you screwed up, even though it was the right move.
But you walk Nix, Brandon grounds out and no one notices that the next inning has the top of the order leading off. The team scores that inning and the TV guys don't think back to the inning before and say 'hey, remember the inning before, the manager messed up'.
Anyway, I just wanted to point that out. Dusty isn't the manager that does that.