There is nothing worse than watching your team lose because of the cumulative stupid decisions made by the manager. I thought I was rid of that when Oakland finally canned Bob Geren, but now Dusty Baker is picking up where he left off, only with the Cincinnati Reds.
Last night was one of the biggest cluster-f's I ever witnessed. Rather than rant about the entire thing, let me just go to the point. In the Milwaukee fourth, they had cut the Reds' 4-0 lead to 4-2. In the fifth, starter Mike Leake, after getting the first man out, gave up a single, a double, an RBI single, and yet another single to load the bases. Now, a smart manager might have called in a reliever, especially with the mammoth Prince Fielder coming up. But Dusty leaves him in, and Fielder hits a deep drive that brings in the tying run. Leake then follows by balking a runner to third. Somehow, he gets out of the inning, and everybody knows that Leake will be pinch hit for when his spot comes up third in the Reds 6th.
Except for Dusty, who lets him bat, and sends him out for the brewers' 6th.
Whereupon he gives up a second pitch HR to Mark Kotsay (who used to play for the A's, and we stupidly let him go, so this is even more irritating.). So now the Reds are behind. But wait, in the Reds seventh, Joey Votto hits a liner to Kotsay in left with a man on that Kotsay proceeds to play soccer with- result, tie game and Votto on third. Jay Bruce then added a HR and the Reds had a gift-wrapped 7-5 lead.
In the Brewer seventh, with 2 out and nobody on, a bright manager may well have walked Fielder. Not Dusty, though. He pitches to the man and Prince responds with a single- but he was left on base. Not only that, but he had brought Bill Bray in just TO pitch to fielder- and after the hit, took him out. The last time I saw Dusty do this, Bray was the only pitcher to get an out in a game that Logan Ondrusek then came in and gave up the winning hit. Why, Dusty, why?
In the Brewer eighth, He brought in Nick Masset. 1-2-3 inning. Great job, Nick!
In the Brewer ninth, though, Dusty brought in the "closer" Francisco Cordero. Now, if you watch the Reds at all, you know that the experience of watching CoCo close a game is a lot like trying to put out a campfire by slowly dribbling gasoline on it. Sometimes he gets the save, sometimes he blows it, but every time, you will put a strain on your heart watching him try. So, CoCo comes in and walks the first batter. After giving us a flicker of hope with a fly out, he then gives up a triple to Nygier Morgan, the Brewers' multi-talented head case. Game is now 7-6, and a grounder to third by Corey Hart results in Morgan being cut down at the plate. Two outs, runner on first, and here comes Fielder. How about we just put him on, Dusty? But no, we pitch to him- and probably a good thing, CoCo's so wild he'd probably wild pitch in the winning run on an intentional walk. He damn near does anyway, as he ends up walking the big man after all that. And then comes an Infield single by Casey McGehee to load the bases. So, 2 out, 3 on, and with the rest of the bullpen so sagely wasted by Dusty in the previous three innings, it's all CoCo.
And who comes to the plate? Mark Kotsay. I could make this up, but no one would believe me.
And of course Kotsay laces a hit that scores two runners, and the game is over. 4-0 lead, meet 8-7 loss. Not unfamiliar, since 2 nights ago, the Reds blew an 8-0 4th-inning lead to the damnable Cardinals only to win 9-8- in 13 innings. Of course, I ranted and raved the rest of the night. The reason God did not destine me for baseball ownership is that I would have fired Baker on the spot, and kicked CoCo out with him.
And I fully intended to continue the rant this morning. I dug into Baseball Reference to excoriate Cordero, and promote Masset to be the closer. But, guess what? As I looked at the stats, Coco is only middle of the road in blown saves around the league. He's been fantastic against inherited runners. Even the great, bearded wonder Brian Wilson has comparable stats. (I didn't compare Mariano Rivera's stats, though. That would be like comparing Babe Ruth to a high school squad.) Even when I tried comparing him to Masset, I found that if you counted Masset's horrible first five appearances, CoCo beat him, and if you took them out, the only difference would be that Masset's let in more inherited runners. So pass me a nitroglycerin pill and I'll shut up and hope for the best with Cordero.
Dusty, on the other hand... I just don't know...