While taking part in some Mother Day festivities, I was fortunate enough to catch most of the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds contest. This so happens to be a pairing of Dusty Baker’s two most recent employers, so there’s all that added excitement and motivation to an already anticipated divisional rivalry.
Baker takes heat for a lot of things. The two most common criticisms of Baker are his abuse and misusage of young pitchers and toothpicks alike. It’s not like the Cubs from his day or the present-day are dry on pitching prospects. As such, there’s a distinct possibility that Baker views the objects as ultimately similar in construction and availability.
I bring up Baker for more than a lame joke attempt, though. He – and I’ll assume he is the one who called for these plays – had the Reds execute two plays that were pretty fun to watch, even if they changed the outcome very little.
In the second inning, Jay Bruce and Jonny Gomes hit consecutive doubles to net the Reds a 1-0 lead. Drew Stubbs came up next and showed bunt long enough to bait Aramis Ramirez towards the plate, and sending an avalanching Gomes to third base without a throw. Gomes would then score on a Stubbs’ grounder to short. With nobody out it seems probable that Gomes would’ve scored anyways, but it was a fun and smart play that depended on Stubbs’ fake being believable and Gomes making the right read.
The other Baker act worth noting came on a Cubs’ bunt attempt following the aforementioned Castro single. Ryan Dempster got the sac down, but as Bob Brenly pointed out on the wonderful WGN broadcast, the Reds were set up for a pickoff play. First baseman Joey Votto charged earlier than normal, hoping Castro would take an excess lead while second baseman Brandon Phillips came in quickly to fill in at first base. Even catcher Ramon Hernandez was coming out of his stance before the pitch arrived.
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