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Thread: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

  1. #1
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    Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    Reading/watching last night's game threads, I think I had some new insight about the strengths and weaknesses of Dusty Baker... and why he is both loved and ridiculed.

    Dusty is a great strategist... he has the skills to make excellent long term decisions and has a unique ability to get the most out of his players over time.

    On the other hand, his method of leadership is not so useful in winning a given battle/game/series. He will continually make choices that are best for the team/player over time, even when they cost the game.

    Unlike some other managers, Dusty does not have much ability to switch from strategy to tactics... he does not have ability to change who he is in times where the short term need exceeds the long term.

    For example, last night Dusty chose to put Massett in rather than pitch Lecure or Chapman an extra inning. As far as that inidividual battle, this appears to be a horrible decision. Lecure was only at 87 pitches through 6 with only one run. The tactician would say to give him another inning. The strategist, however, says that the benefit gained in Lecure's confidence after pitching 6 strong innings is the bird in the hand and not worth the risk of losing by pushing him one extra inning. Not to mention that Lecure should have his innings stretched out gradually since he prepped to be in the pen.

    Next, Dusty could have kept Chapman in an extra inning.... but again, Aroldis had a scoreless outting that was in the bank, not to mention that it was his third time pitching in 3 days.

    Finally we have him bringing in masset in the 8th inning of a one run game. Why not have Massett get his innings in and regain his form in a blowout? The answer is that, in the long run, Massett is training to be the set up guy and/or closer... to be the one who will come in a one run game and shuts the opponent down. As many have written , the effective closers are based almost entirely on confidence. Last night Dusty showed his confidence in Massett... maybe not in a single game, but as a player overall for a season. It is the same reason that Dusty would continue to pinch hit an O-fer player that has proven hitting ability in prior seasons. The confidence he has in the players improves their own cofidence, and over the course of a season he gets great efforts out of his players.

    That is Dusty's strength... the season... but never a given series. I think that is why he will continue to take teams, the Reds or otherwise, to the postseason, but have less success once he makes it there.

    I guess I am OK with that.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    ^ Good post. I was thinking the exact same thing last night when he went with Masset in the 8th. I thought that he should have run Chapman back out there, but Dusty apparently wanted to get Masset back on the horse. It seemed like a move to strengthen the team long-term at the price of maybe losing the game. Chapman was obviously the safer move to win the game.

    I disagree with the idea of keeping Lecure in, especially since he would have had to come to the plate in the top of the 7th. Also, Lecure didnt start many games in ST. The wheels might have come off fast. It was wise to pull him after 87 pitches.

    But a lot of this comes down to the fact that managing a ball club involves a lot more than always going with the hot hand. You have to give your slumping players opportunities to get back on track. You can't abandon a good player simply because he is 0 for his last 15 or he has given up 10 runs in his last 2 appearances; even if the fans are screaming to bench the slumping player.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    If Masset continues to struggle, I could see him and Chapman flip flopping roles.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    If this is the playoffs or game 150, Chapman pitches another inning.

    In game 11, I think it was exactly the right choice... despite the results.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    People were very angry that he kept in Masset, but I think in long run it's a good move, look how well Masset did last year after a slow start. Players love him because he has confidence in them and he stands up for them, and it shows.
    Follow me on twitter @EricLilly7

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    The originial post is very well put. I think it helps to clarify why Baker makes the decisions he does. I also have faith that he can adjust his style in the playoffs.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    Quote Originally Posted by NorrisHopper30 View Post
    People were very angry that he kept in Masset, but I think in long run it's a good move, look how well Masset did last year after a slow start. Players love him because he has confidence in them and he stands up for them, and it shows.
    That's a good point. Masset started the year awful last year and then when he hit his groove he was almost unhittable. I'm confident he'll settle in.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    Masset gave up 29 ERs last year - 13 in April, 5 in May, 4 in June, 1 in July, 1 in August, 5 in Sept (4 in one game). However in 2009 he was pretty good early in the season, slipped a little in the middle and finished strong. So I don't think there is necessarily any predictability as to when Masset may struggle. But I do feel there will be long stretches when he will be very tough.

    I like Dusty alot despite his detractors at some of his previous stops which is probably due to trying to slot the man into a prototype of what some people expect a manager to do in certain situations. His players like him, he wins, and he has convictions. Obviously he thought Masset was the right guy for the situation last night even though I wasn't feeling too good about it at the time, but I trust Dusty. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Rhymon View Post
    Masset gave up 29 ERs last year - 13 in April, 5 in May, 4 in June, 1 in July, 1 in August, 5 in Sept (4 in one game). However in 2009 he was pretty good early in the season, slipped a little in the middle and finished strong. So I don't think there is necessarily any predictability as to when Masset may struggle. But I do feel there will be long stretches when he will be very tough.

    I like Dusty alot despite his detractors at some of his previous stops which is probably due to trying to slot the man into a prototype of what some people expect a manager to do in certain situations. His players like him, he wins, and he has convictions. Obviously he thought Masset was the right guy for the situation last night even though I wasn't feeling too good about it at the time, but I trust Dusty. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't.
    Really good post! Ditto everything you said.

    Also, welcome to the board!
    Let's make some noise!

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_CaseyRules View Post
    Really good post! Ditto everything you said.

    Also, welcome to the board!
    Thanks. Here's to you also.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    8th inning. Righty, switch-hitter, righty, righty. Where's Masset? Guess no confidence building tonight.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    Good original post. I felt Chapman should have and could have pitched another inning. Dusty gets stuck in his routine rotations of pitchers instead of switching things up for situations or going with the hot hand.
    "I can't take this homerism anymore." - 10xWSChamps, August 11, 2010. A Cardinals fan having a problem with all the homerism on Redszone. Classic.

    "Man do I miss the days where were didn't need a calculator and an encyclopedia of baseball metrics to enjoy a baseball game ... - MikeS21" - 8/2/12 game thread

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    For those who thought Chapman should have pitched another inning, you get to join the ranks of those who have destroyed pitchers' arms, landed them on the DL, and ruined their careers.

    Chapman shouldn't have even pitched at all last night, as it's been confirmed that he now has inflammation in his throwing arm. You should have noticed that by the fact that he was averaging only 92mph on his fastballs. These "signs" need to have lights going off inside your heads that something is wrong.

    I'm not berating anyone here for wanting to have Chapman continue pitching, just letting everyone know that nothing is ever as it seems to be. You wanted Dusty pitching Chapman more, when in reality he should have been pitching Chapman less.

    It's really difficult to be right about a manager when you criticize him for in-game moves, especially in April and May. We're lucky if we have access to 1% of the information needed to make the right move.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    Last time I checked they don't poll Sundeck to see who gets to relieve and for how long. If Chapman shouldn't have pitched at all last night, you can lay that at the feet of one Dusty Baker.

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    Re: Dusty the Strategist, not the Tactician

    His velocity wasn't that bad until the last night he pitched. In fact, the second night, he struck out two, and had a one, two, three inning. It's expected that velocity would decrease in consecutive days. But when you go from 105 mph to 91 mph, yes, something is wrong. But we didn't know that until that moment.

    I was projecting Chapman to take over Cordero's closer role. I was never in the camp of making him a starter. Now, because it appears he can't pitch on consecutive days, I'm changing my mind and thinking they should send him to Louisville to become a starter.
    "I can't take this homerism anymore." - 10xWSChamps, August 11, 2010. A Cardinals fan having a problem with all the homerism on Redszone. Classic.

    "Man do I miss the days where were didn't need a calculator and an encyclopedia of baseball metrics to enjoy a baseball game ... - MikeS21" - 8/2/12 game thread


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