Wednesday, May 13, 2009

National Folks Are Praising Dusty Baker. No, Really!

It was just three days ago when I half-jokingly suggested you'd consider Dusty Baker a genius for pinch-hitting Micah Owings in a critical situation in the ninth inning. Since then, two credible outlets kinda sorta called Baker a genius for sending Owings to the plate in the most critical situation.

First, Jayson Stark:

How can you not love Micah Owings? How can you not love Dusty Baker for sending a pitcher up there to pinch hit, down a run with two outs in the ninth? How can you not love both of them for conspiring to produce one of the most amazing moments of the whole season?

Next, something called Baseball Analysts (which is only credible because Rob Neyer links to them all the time):

Maybe Dusty Baker knows what he’s doing.

On Sunday night the Cincinnati Reds trailed the St. Louis Cardinals by a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases empty. Baker pinch hit pitcher Micah Owings for the fifth time this season. Clearly, Owings is not your average pitcher. He pitches respectably, but carries a big stick. Owings had been 2-4 on the year as a pinch hitter which was better than his 2-3 Win-Loss record as a starter.

Two things:

1. Click on the Baseball Analysts link for a beakdown of Micah Owings, the hitter. It's really nerdy baseball shit, but it's interesting, as well.

2. As stated above, both Jayson Stark and Baseball Analysts. As stated in the nest four seconds, both Jayson Stark and Baseball Analysts are jackasses. Well, that or they don't have all the information surrounding Owings' dramatic home run on Sunday. I'll choose the latter

Darnell McDonald shouldn't be in the big leagues. And he definitely shouldn't get a key late-inning plate appearance in favor of Micah Owings.

Chris Dickerson probably shouldn't be in the big leagues. And he should absolutely positively never ever ever pinch hit in a key late-inning situation against a left-handed relief pitcher.

Willy Taveras has exceeded expectations thus far. Well, he's exceeded my expectations. Regardless, this is not a guy who should be up with two outs in the eighth representing the go-ahead score in a two-run game. Baker had options: He could've moved Hairston from short to center, and brought Janish in to play short. Simple.

Baker screwed up monumentally Sunday, and I'm more than a little sick of reading what a genius he is for it.

-Brad Spieser (