Team President wants Dusty Baker to stay with the Reds “for many years to come”

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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.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.