Defending Dusty Baker
The Reds now sit just one game over the .500 mark after losing to the Diamondbacks last night at Great American Ball Park. Sam LeCure struggled through 5 1/3 innings and the Reds offense managed just five hits. The Diamondbacks hammered four home runs en route to a 5-4 victory.
I want to discuss the bottom of the ninth. Trailing by a run, the Reds had the bottom of the order due up against J.J. Putz. Jonny Gomes led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Dusty Baker then had Ryan Hanigan lay down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Gomes to second.
My Twitter timeline was quickly filled with messages chastising Baker for “giving up an out” in such a crucial situation. Though I can see the argument, I respectfully disagree.
With Gomes on first, letting Hanigan swing away would put the Reds at risk of a double play. Also, you need to take into consideration who was coming up next. Say, for example, Hanigan is retired and Gomes remains on first. Paul Janish is a singles hitter. If Gomes is on second base, a single could tie the game.
By having Hanigan sacrifice Gomes to second, the Reds had two chances to tie the game. Janish grounded to third and Chris Heisey struck out to end it, but the opportunity was there. The sacrifice bunt was the right decision.