The Reds are dead and Dusty Baker’s fingerprints are all over the murder weapon

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Scott Rolen just struck out to end Game 5 of the NLDS. The Giants win 6-4 and now they’ll go on to face the winner of the Nats-Cardinals series.

This wasn’t all on Dusty Baker.  It wasn’t Dusty Baker who was beat around like nobody’s business in the fifth inning. That was Mat Latos, who suffered a total meltdown after not getting a couple of close calls, resulting in a grand slam by Buster Posey.  It likewise wasn’t Dusty Baker who ended a would-be Reds rally in the eighth. That had an awful lot to do with the Giants leather, first with Brandon Crawford making a diving stop at short and then Angel Pagan doing the same in center.  Indeed, the Reds stranded all kinds of runners from the fifth inning on. Sometimes, stuff just happens. You don’t get the bounce and you don’t get the clutch hit.

But Baker didn’t do his team any favors in Games 3, 4 or 5, and a good argument can be made that Baker cost them the series because of it.

On Tuesday it was Scott Rolen’s error in extra innings which opened the door for the Giants victory. Given how much Rolen struggled down the stretch, it’s an open question as to why he was playing at all.  Yesterday Baker left starting pitcher Mike Leake in for too long, and he got rocked, forcing the Reds to play come-from-behind baseball almost the whole game.  Then today in the sixth, with two on, nobody out and Ryan Hanigan working the count full, Baker ran them out of the inning with an ill-advised hit and run — or run and hit or a steal or whatever it was — which turned into a momentum-sapping double play.

Any loss is a team effort. But Baker’s decisions put the Reds in disadvantageous situations time and time again against the Giants.  In a short series, that can be death.  It certainly was here.

Gabe Kapler lost his home in the California wildfires

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Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was among those who lost their homes as a result of the ongoing California wildfires, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports. Kapler’s house was in Malibu, roughly 50 miles west of Los Angeles.

Kapler is hoping his situation can be used to make more people aware of the seriousness of the wildfires. He said, “Keep talking about it. When you’re out in your community, talk about it with other people. Use it as a way to come together. I sent this text message back to people: Talk about it. Shine a light on it. Raise awareness. Feel it.” He added, “That’s my main point for other people. We’re good. Our family is good. There are a lot of other families who are not.”

Two days ago, Kapler made his first tweet since mid-July:

Per NBC’s Jay Gray, at least 31 people are dead and more than 200 people are unaccounted for. Thousands of homes were burned and another 72,000 remain threatened.