First, I should say that this is not meant to be direct criticism of Dusty Baker. As the Reds have lost their last three elimination games (obviously), I've found myself really interested by the approaches of other teams and managers during similar situations.

Case in point, tonight's Rays-Red Sox game. The announcers seemed surprised that Joe Maddon had a quick hook with Jeremy Hellickson. If you weren't watching, here's what happened. First inning: one-two-three. Second inning: walk, walk, single. With bases loaded and nobody out, Maddon made the change.

Obviously, this is a pitcher who sported a 5.17 ERA in 2013, but he's been much better than that historically. Anyway, Maddon looked like a genius because Jamey Wright promptly struck out Saltalamacchia before getting an inning-ending double play.

How many managers make that move in the second inning? Your season is on the line. Maddon played it perfectly, in my opinion. You bring in your best reliever (probably not the closer, but I'd even be open to that idea) and get out of the jam. There's no tomorrow. What does it matter if you don't have your set-up guy in the 8th inning if the game is already out of hand?

Two smart things here:
1) quick hook in an elimination game (even though conventional wisdom seems to be to let your starter work out of a jam if no runs have crossed the plate)
2) bringing in one of your best bullpen arms to escape the threat--rather than using a middling reliever or long-man