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.

Red Sox place Sandy León on waivers

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The Red Sox have placed catcher Sandy León on waivers, WEEI’s Evan Drellich reports. León hit .233 in 30 at-bats this spring, but he did draw seven walks.

León, 30, was quite productive in 2016, racking up an .845 OPS, but followed that up with back-to-back disappointing campaigns the last two seasons. He mustered a meager .511 OPS in 288 plate appearances last season. León, however, is under team control through the 2020 season and is well-regarded for his defense, so it seems probable that the Red Sox find a trade partner and send him to be a back-up elsewhere.

Christian Vázquez will handle the bulk of the catching duties this season with Blake Swihart backing him up now that León will be out of the picture. Swihart had been used more as a utilityman in recent seasons.