Home > Uncategorized > Reds vs. Phillies: Three Games In One As Dusty Baker Probably Shortens Another Pitcher’s Career

Reds vs. Phillies: Three Games In One As Dusty Baker Probably Shortens Another Pitcher’s Career

Not smart: saving relief pitchers during a 19-inning game in May

On May 25-26, the Cincinnati Reds and The Philadelphia Phillies played for 19 innings and more than six hours. You can simply pick your storyline with a game like that. You could talk about:

Where this ranks among the longest games in time and innings in each team’s history;

How Danys Baez threw 73 pitches, his most in a game by far since 2002 to keep the Phillies in it;

Wilson Valdez becoming the first position player to be the winning pitcher in a game since Brent Mayne on Aug. 22, 2000;

The awesome fans who stayed past 1 a.m.

All of the players who played the entirety of this marathon and how some of them will have to suit up for another game less than nine hours after this one ended. One of them certainly won’t be Carlos Ruiz, who caught the first 18 innings before moving to third base in the 19th. He had played their just one previous time in his six-year career. He even made a diving attempt over the tarp for a foul ball in the final inning. Seriously, what a performance by a guy who went 1-for-7 at the plate.

That’s just a sampling of topics. For the sake of time and my sleeping habits, I’ll talk about two things: The overall time of the game and Dusty Baker’s continued questionable handling of pitchers.

First, this game lasted six hours and 11 minutes. It’s the longest game of this season and of many other seasons and blah, blah, blah. The extended time of game is interesting, but not as thought-provoking without taking a glance at the D’Backs-Rockies game from earlier tonight. It lasted two hours and four minutes. Simple math can show you why those two games together could be significant.

While the Reds-Phillies game ended up one minute short, it was that close to being three times as long as the D’Backs-Rockies game.

I had to know when the last time was that a game in modern baseball played out like a tripleheader compared to a game from that same day.

I immediately thought about April 17, 2010. Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter against the Braves while the Mets and Cardinals played for 20 innings. The Rockies-Braves game went for two hours and 31 minutes. However, the Mets-Cardinals ended 40 minutes too soon at six hours and 53 minutes.

However, there is an answer. I’m not sure if it’s the most recent answer, but it is an answer.

On May 8, 1984, the White Sox defeated the Brewers, 7-6. In 25 innings. The game took eight hours and six minutes and remains the longest game in Major League Baseball history in terms of minutes. There were seven other games that took place that day, four of which fit in nicely three times over. One of those games, Red Sox vs. Rangers, took just two hours and eight minutes to complete. If that record-setting game had gone 26 or 27 innings, Boston and Texas could have played four in less time.

———-

Secondly, Dusty Baker is insane. Or maybe it’s me who is insane, because each time I see Baker treat a young pitcher’s arm the same way Derek Vinyard treats the thief’s face, I keep hoping that it doesn’t affect his career. But most of the time, it does.

The most recent exhibit took place in this game. Carlos Fisher pitched the final 5.2 innings for the Reds. The 27-year-old hadn’t thrown more than 60 pitches in any of his previous 60 big-league appearances and, according to the Reds’ TV broadcasters, had been working as a middle reliever down in the minors before being called up this week.  Yet, he threw 95 pitches against the Phillies.

This wasn’t a Danys Baez situation. The Phillies had to go with Baez until he could give them nothing more because they had nothing more in their bullpen. Unless the bullpen coach wanted to start warming. Plus, at least the 33-year-old Baez had some experience as a starter early in his career.

Fisher was just left out there to burn while Dusty had other options. Sam LeCure and Matt Maloney were both in the Reds’ bullpen. Baker may have wanted to save them for Thursday’s matinée, but once you go 18 and it’s clear your current pitcher is running on fumes, you need to adjust your strategy. Baker never did, and Fisher got tagged with the loss. There comes a time where you’ve got to do what’s best for a player and try to win what you can instead of planning for the future. I’m sure LeCure and Maloney will be the first out of the bullpen if Dusty needs them Thursday. But if the Reds lose that game as well, Fisher will have been sacrificed for basically nothing.

And who knows when he’ll be able to pitch again. Probably not Thursday. Probably not.

I got so sick of listening to the Reds’ broadcasters — Thom Brennaman and a color analyst whose name I can’t remember at the moment — repeatedly say that there must be a reason they don’t know about as to why Baker wouldn’t replace Fisher with a new pitcher. They both said they were surprised when Fisher came out for the 18th and the 19th innings, but never said what needed to be said: What the hell is Dusty Baker doing?! He’s throwing this kid’s arm off. This is inexcusable.

But through all of my wonder came an easy answer.

It’s Dusty Baker. This is what he does. We should have gotten used to the sad fates he puts pitchers through by now.

I don’t know what is next in Fisher’s pro career, but I can only hope the effects of this outing don’t stay with him for seasons to come.

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