I've read some criticism of Dusty Baker for yesterday's loss. To be fair, although generally Dusty is a poor game tactician, the loss can not reasonably be laid at his feet.
- Yes, Mark Prior batted twice with the bases loaded but with the bullpen issues the Cubs have had you can't blame him for not pinch hitting. Also one of the times was in the 2nd inning.
- Also he was criticized for not pinch hitting Ben Grieve in several situations, especially when a baserunner was needed. Well, Grieve has looked awful the last few days and is 3-14 in September with exactly 1 walk. In fact, he's had only that one walk in his last 48 times to the plate so you're probably not giving much up by not pinch hitting him.
- Third, he was pilloried for the Nomar Garciapara bunt with 1 out in the bottom of the twelvth. Yes, on its face this is a terrible move as it changes the probability of scoring from 28.3% to 22.3% and the run potential from .573 to .344 and the win probability from 20.8% to 14.3% - all bad things. But I think it was clear that the bunt attempt was for a hit and was done by Nomar himself. Actually, not too bad a play if it succeeds of course with the 3rd baseman playing back. Not sure with Nomar's bad groin whether it was a good idea though. But certainly not Dusty's fault.
Mike Hampton against Kerry Wood today at 2:20PM central.