Last week, Craig brought to our attention a rather interesting quote from Nationals manager Dusty Baker. The skipper said his team “is a baby-making team.” We can all come to our own conclusions as to what that means.
The interesting quotes kept coming on Wednesday. In a piece by Bill Shaikin for the Los Angeles Times, Baker said he had always wanted to be a Dodger as a player. Baker said, “I heard the Dodgers had the best athletes, pretty uniforms and good bodies. I was like, ‘Shoot, you’re talking about me.'”
Baker, of course, played for the Dodgers for eight seasons between 1976 and 1983. They were arguably the best years of his career as he made two All-Star teams, won two Silver Sluggers, and placed in fourth in National League Most Valuable Player balloting in 1980.
The Nationals and Dodgers begin Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday at 5:30 PM EDT.
Mets infielder Wilmer Flores suffered a wrist injury when he was involved in a collision at home plate with catcher A.J. Pierzynski last month. Unfortunately, his wrist never got better even after a couple of cortisone injections.
Now the Mets have found out that Flores has “more than a bone bruise” and will undergo surgery, ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports. According to Newsday’s Marc Carig, hamate bone surgery is scheduled for later this week.
Flores, 25, had the best season — offensively speaking — of his career, finishing the regular season with a .267/.319/.469 triple-slash line with 16 home runs and 49 RBI in 335 plate appearances. He played first, second, and third base as well as shortstop, providing value to the Mets with his versatility.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has been the lightning rod for criticism after his team was knocked out of the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday with closer Zach Britton — the best reliever in baseball this season — never making an appearance. After the game, Showalter said “Zach Britton was fine,” making it even more puzzling that the lefty never made his way to the mound.
Showalter didn’t make much of a defense against the questions. It was odd coming from Showalter as he has in the past not been one to adhere to old school baseball orthodoxy, which says that managers shouldn’t use their closers in a tie game on the road. The thought goes that once your team takes a lead, you won’t have your closer to finish the game. Obviously, the flaw in that logic is you may lose the game before you ever get a lead and your closer will be sitting on the bench twiddling his thumbs. Which was what happened last night.
Earlier this year, on July 31, the Orioles were in Toronto for a game against the Blue Jays. The game was tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the ninth inning — sound familiar? — and Showalter chose to bring in Zach Britton. Britton worked a perfect inning, then came out for the bottom of the 10th. He worked around a one-out walk and finished yet another scoreless inning. The O’s would take a 6-2 lead in the top of the 12th and would go on to win by that margin.
After the game, MASN broadcaster Gary Thorne asked Showalter, “Good two innings by Zach [Britton], huh?”
Showalter responded, “Yeah, he’d had five days off. Really, had a little something that we wanted to give him an extra day. So, we felt confident with him for two innings today. And, regardless of the score and what conventionality tells you, I’m putting my best pitcher out there on the field. Not gonna save him around for a close that may not happen.”
Showalter clearly knew better than to keep holding onto Britton, but he did anyway. That lends a lot of credence to Craig’s theory that Showalter wasn’t dumb; rather, he was just scared.