Miguel Batista shuts out the Reds

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The Reds saved their greatest humiliation of the year for the last day of the season.

40-year-old Miguel Batista, who hadn’t pitched a complete game in five years, hurled a three-hit shutout in the Mets’ 3-0 win over the Reds on Wednesday.  It was his fifth career shutout and first since July 19, 2006 against the Dodgers.

The outing matched Batista’s low hit total for a complete game in his career.  He had thrown three three-hitters previously, again the last coming in 2006.  His only previous three-hit shutout came with the Expos on June 5, 1999.

Batista, who was released by the Cardinals earlier this season, hadn’t thrown more than six innings in any of his previous four starts this year.

The Reds have made it clear that they intend to bring Dusty Baker back next year. Really, though, the team simply folded today against a journeyman reliever to finish 79-83. I don’t suppose it’s fair to base any decisions on the way an als0-ran plays on the final day of the season, but if Baker can’t keep his team motivated — which is really supposed to be his biggest strength — what good is he doing the Reds?

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?