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Dusty Baker burned by questionable pitching change

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker made a bold move in Game 3 of the ALDS, and it did not work out at all for him. The Astros carried a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the third of Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Starter Luis Garcia ran into trouble, however, giving up a… Read More

The post Dusty Baker burned by questionable pitching change appeared first on Larry Brown Sports.

Dusty Baker

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker made a bold move in Game 3 of the ALDS, and it did not work out at all for him.

The Astros carried a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the third of Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Starter Luis Garcia ran into trouble, however, giving up a two-run home run to Yasmani Grandal to make it 5-3. Garcia was one strike away from getting out of the inning, but gave up back-to-back two-out singles to Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets to bring Leury Garcia up as the go-ahead run.

When the Astros pitcher fell behind in the count 2-0, Baker made the unconventional decision to change pitchers in the middle of the at-bat. He came out and summoned reliever Yimi Garcia to try to end the inning instead.

That did not work at all. Yimi Garcia threw a ball, moving the count to 3-0, then got a called strike. Leury Garcia then smashed the 3-1 pitch to dead center for a go-ahead three-run homer.

There’s a reason managers don’t like to change pitchers in the middle of a plate appearance. Pitchers can be very rhythm-oriented, and it’s tough to get into a rhythm when inheriting someone else’s count. That becomes even more true when a pitcher enters behind in the count, giving them even less margin for error. In general, managers will usually try to start their relievers with a clean count, even if they can’t offer a clean inning.

Ironically, Baker has garnered a reputation for leaving his starters in too long during key playoff games. Even last year he opted to stick with his starter in a big spot, and was actually rewarded for it. Perhaps he would have been better off doing the same in this instance.

The post Dusty Baker burned by questionable pitching change appeared first on Larry Brown Sports.

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