I pondered the question before the 2012 season began as to whether Dusty Baker was a Cincinnati Reds kind of manager. I looked around at what people were saying about the Reds’ skipper, his background, his style, what his players said about him and his success. I deduced that Dusty Baker was, in fact, a Cincinnati Reds kind of guy.
Often beleaguered by his critics as being too loyal or just a terrible manager, Dusty Baker is facing down those claims so far this season. Although I have disagreed with several of his moves throughout the year (staying with Sean Marshall as closer too long, not defining a role for Aroldis Chapman, playing Scott Rolen too much over Todd Frazier, etc.), Baker has clearly been making the right calls and moves in the last three or so months of play.
One of the most important moves that I think has worked out very well for the Cincinnati Reds is the shake up in the pitching rotation. Around the beginning of the month of June, Dusty Baker decided to change the rotation. He decided to go with an alternating hard thrower with junk thrower (in general – Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Homer Bailey). This move seems to have worked brilliantly. Since the change, the Reds as a team have been on a roll and the starting pitching has been, well, outstanding. There has been another by-product of this change. Devin Mesoraco now catches two days in a row, consequently, he has been more comfortable and productive.
Another good decision, although a little too late for my comfort, was to move Chapman to the closer’s spot instead of Marshall. All Chapman has done is blow away the competition since then. Take away a couple bad outings and Chapman just hasn’t been scored on. Truly has not.
I believe that the much maligned Dusty Baker is doing his best managing this season. The record right now of 59-40 speaks to that truth. He’s got to be a leading candidate for Manager of the Year honors. More importantly though, I also still believe that Dusty Baker is a Cincinnati Reds kind of guy.