Let’s check in on Dusty Baker

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Flash back, if you will, to Game 5 of the NLDS between the Nationals and Dodgers. The Dodgers emerged 4-3 victors of that game and earned the right to advance to the NLCS to face the Cubs.

Game 5 featured Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen coming in to pitch the seventh inning. Jansen got into a bit of trouble in the seventh but ultimately escaped. He worked a scoreless eighth and returned to the mound in the ninth, but after issuing back-to-back one-out walks, he exited the game and ace Clayton Kershaw entered. Jansen threw 51 pitches, by far surpassing his previous career-high.

Kershaw, who started Game 4 and threw 110 pitches, needed only seven pitches to close out the ninth in Game 5, getting Daniel Murphy to pop out before getting Wilmer Difo to fan at a curve in the dirt for strike three.

In a postseason that has been under a microscope due to controversial bullpen management, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts looked like a genius. Nationals manager Dusty Baker, however, wasn’t on board.

So off the Dodgers went to Wrigley Field to face the Cubs in the NLCS. The Dodgers lost Game 1 due to a disastrous eighth inning for reliever Joe Blanton. Jansen — nor Kershaw — made an appearance.

In Game 2, however, Kershaw and Jansen were the only two pitches the Dodgers needed to even up the series at one game apiece. Kershaw went seven innings, allowing just two hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 84 pitches. Jansen entered in the eighth and recorded a two-inning save, facing the minimum with four strikeouts on 18 pitches.

Seems like they’re doing just fine.

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

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GAFFNEY, S.C. — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball who wrote a book about using the pitch died at 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney of natural causes, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details.

“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, adding, “he will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever … and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.”

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 and San Diego in 1978 just after turning 40.

Perry went 24-16 in his debut season with Cleveland after 10 years with the San Francisco Giants. He was 21-6 in his first season with the Padres in 1978 for his fifth and final 20-win season.

“Before I won my second Cy Young I thought I was too old – I didn’t think the writers would vote for me,” Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. “But they voted on my performance, so I won it.”

Perry, who pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983, was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was “one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.” The Texas Rangers, whom Perry played for twice, said in a statement that the pitcher was “a fierce competitor every time he took the ball and more often than not gave the Rangers an opportunity to win the game.”

“The Rangers express their sincere condolences to Gaylord’s family at this difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “This baseball great will be missed.”

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter,” and he wrote it in that when he started in 1962 he was the “11th man on an 11-man pitching staff” for the Giants. He needed an edge and learned the spitball from San Francisco teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first threw it in May 1964 against the New York Mets, pitched 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after entered the Giants’ starting rotation.

He also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and eventually stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after MLB ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to doctor the baseball. He used various motions and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to get hitters thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Perry was ejected from a game just once for doctoring a baseball – when he was with Seattle in August 1982. In his final season with Kansas City, Perry and teammate Leon Roberts tried to hide George Brett’s infamous pine-tar bat in the clubhouse but was stopped by a guard. Perry was ejected for his role in that game, too.

After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and was its coach for the first three years.

The Hall of Fame’s statement noted that Perry often returned for induction weekend “to be with his friends and fans.”

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family,” Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.