Dusty Baker finally gets me. No, I mean he really, really gets me.
How difficult it must be to go to the mound and tell your closer to hit the bricks.
Regardless of how dire the situation, and believe me it was dire, it still must be a gut churner.
To tell your highest paid man on the current roster that his day is over has done one of two things. It has either brought the manager to an epiphany that says "I have seen this too many times," or "Someone has got to clean up this mess he just made."
Pulling your closer from the game is tantamount to raising the white flag and saying, "It's over, we've had enough."
With so much emphasis put on the closer today, it puts the manager in a tough situation.
If he pulls him, he is screaming to the world that his man just doesn't have it today. If he stays with him and allows him to build on the mess he's made, he will most likely lose the game.
I have been hyper-critical of Coco all season long, and now it looks as though Dusty has finally come around.
When a Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake, or Johnny Cueto give way to Coco with a three run lead and a performance worthy of their scrapbook, they deserve more than to see the bases filled with singles and walks, and a winning run coming to the plate.
Remember the game against Atlanta?
The Reds were ahead 9-3 when the Braves came to bat in the bottom of the ninth. Mike Lincoln gave up four singles, Nick Massett gave up a walk and another runner reached on an error.
Dusty brought in Arthur Rhodes who promptly struck out slugger Jason Heyward for the first out of the inning with the bases loaded.
Instead of Dusty leaving Rhodes in while he was hot, he motioned for the closer. On a 2-2 pitch he served up a grand salami to pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad, losing the game 10-9.
Far too many times this season, Cordero has blown saves, loaded the bases and still got a save, and continues to be called in every time the game is on the line.
Don Cable recently wrote a comment on one of my articles stating that he didn't understand why teams had one man that they exclusively leaned on when they were between a rock and a hard place.
I agreed with him then and more so now.
Kudos to Massett who came through in spades yesterday with the bases loaded and only one out. A $1M man picking up a $12M man, go figure.
I know there have been times this season when Cordero pitched flawlessly. But too many times has his pitch count gone over 30 for one inning. He is constantly walking at least one and giving up a hit or two every time out of the pen.
Baker needs to give the ball over to Rhodes, Massett and rookie Jordan Smith more at the end of the game.
I have said it before and I will say it again. We simply will not win the division with Cordero remaining the exclusive closer.
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