It’s hard to find a successful manager who polarizes his own team’s fan base as much as Dusty Baker. I’m not sure why. The stuff about him being hard on pitchers is pretty far in the past. I think he’s a pretty good manager. His players seem to like him. He does the one thing that, in my view, is the most important thing a manager can do, and that’s keep the clubhouse on an even keel and the drama to a minimum. Just ask the Red Sox how important that is.
Yet, based on sentiment I hear here in Ohio and around the internets, there is a certain segment of Reds fans who don’t much care for him. In light of that, this will drive those folks nuts:
Reds manager Dusty Baker should not be concerned about his current contractual situation. Bob Castellini, the team’s president and chief executive, wants Baker around for a long time.
“I would like to see Dusty Baker as a member of our organization for many years to come,” Castellini told MLB.com on Wednesday, as two days of quarterly Owners’ Meetings began here at the Four Seasons Hotel. “That’s it.”
I think that’s great. Dusty fits that team well. He’s been successful. Good for him if they get a deal done.
Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.
With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.
The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.
Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.
It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.