Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dusty's Blunders...Remember Them

This may not be a good time to mention it since the Dodgers are on their greatest regular season run in decades, but please remember this series the next time Dusty Baker’s name surfaces as a candidate to be the manager of the Dodgers.  We know Mattingly isn’t going anywhere after this run, but say something weird happened and the Yankees fired Joe Girardi this off-season.  You know that Mattingly could possibly be gone to the Bronx.

Every time there is a managerial opening with the Dodgers, the name Dusty Baker surfaces as a possible candidate.  That name tugs at the heartstrings of old Dodger fans that consider Baker to be one of their favorite Dodger players from a glorious time period.  He was undoubtedly a great Dodger and a clutch player in his day.

And as a manager, he’s considered a players guy and one that is respectful towards veterans.  He has won everywhere he has managed, but for the life of me, I don’t know how.  His strategic moves on the field leave a lot to be desired in my opinion.  He’s a manager that will never embarrass his players.  His players respect him as a former player and not only a manager but a friend and confidant.  Maybe that’s why he has had some level of success everywhere.  The thing is, fans in San Francisco, Chicago and now Cincinnati are convinced that their teams would have had greater success without him.

There was 2002 when his Giants were within six outs of a World Series title.  Dusty mismanaged his pitching and his bullpen coughed up that game and eventually the series.  There was 2003 with the Cubs, the Bartman game and the resulting loss to the Marlins when Baker left Mark Prior out there to die when he was rattled and shell shocked.  There was 2012 when Baker’s Reds had three opportunities at home to eliminate the Giants, and failed to do so, game after game after game.

When his name surfaces again for the Dodger job, and it will (whenever that may be), I want you to remember those past failures and specifically this series to fully understand why he should never manage the Dodgers.

Dusty’s a by the book skipper with his pitching decisions.  Nothing fancy, he just simply has guys in certain roles and he he rarely deviates from that.  Aroldis Chapman is his closer, and he will only use him in save situations.  In today’s game, the 11th inning with Puig, AGon and Hanley coming up, it was a key inning in which it would have been wise to bring the fireballing lefty in, but since it wasn’t a save situation, Dusty stuck with Partch.  It was the perfect opportunity to use his best reliever against the heart of the Dodger lineup, but to Dusty, Chapman gets saves and this wasn't a save situation.  Partch was left out there and Puig made him pay.

Fan posts at RedReporter.com were quite graphic with regards to Dusty’s decision about his relief pitcher selection.  Here’s a few posts from that site: (the profane posts have been left out). 

“Dusty can’t bring him in in a tie game on the road.  Not until everyone else’s arm has fallen off, anyway.”

“He’s completely wasting his (Chapman’s) value.”

“He’s pitched one inning in the last nine days.”

Baker started Derrick Robinson over Choo against Capuano today.  Much to the consternation of the Red’s fan base.

“I loath weak hitting fast guys almost as much as Dusty loves them.”

“Dusty’s lineup today might score negative runs.”

Then there was the squeeze play attempt.  In a 0-0 game, with a man on third and one out in the 7th, Baker attempted a failed squeeze attempt that was fouled off.  It put his hitter (Robinson) in an 0-2 whole and he bounced into a force play at home the very next pitch as Mesoraco broke for home on contact.

Devin Mesoraco is tagged out after being cut down in an attempt to score from third. (photo by Reed Saxon/AP)

“Why are they trying the suicide squeeze with the SLOWEST GUY IN THE LINEUP ON THIRD?”

“Are we the stupidest base-running team of all-time?”

So there you have it.  Dusty isn’t that popular in Cincinnati where a lot of second-guessing is going on with his managerial decisions.  Again, I must add.  Baker himself is aware of the criticisms, and he even mentioned them, stating in a 2011 interview about his time with the Cubs: “My time with them really hurt my reputation.  Ever since then, all of a sudden, ‘I don’t know how to manage. I don’t know how to handle pitchers.  I don’t like young players.’...They don’t even have a clue about it.  I never heard that in San Francisco.”

Maybe Dusty didn’t hear it in San Francisco, but I certainly did.  Every single day from Giant fans who were happy to see him leave and disappointed that he didn’t end up with Los Angeles.  They knew his managerial blunders first hand, and were hoping he’d be making them in Dodger blue.  The day that option is available to Dodger management, they need to simply say “no, thank you.”


Oh, I almost forgot.  What a finish today!  Puig's first walk off homer.  Hopefully the first of many that we'll see over the coming years.

First Walk off homer in Puig's career. (photo by Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today)

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