With the Reds at 2-5 through the first week of the season, there are already the comments through the airwaves, Twitter-sphere, and even the rapidly aging Facebook about the differences between former Reds manager Dusty Baker and current Reds manager Bryan Price. Some of the comments are very credible. There have been differences, and believe you me, they are not subtle.
1. Management of the Pitching Staff
– Whether people believe it is still being managed poorly, or whether it has improved, there are differences. Most notably was the decision in Sunday’s final game against the New York Mets. First off, Price took out Alfredo Simon before the start of 8th inning. That does not seem like a huge decision, but Simon was sitting at 79 pitches through 7 innings of quality pitching. He allowed only 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, and 6 K’s. The decision to take Simon out of the game did not hurt the Reds in the game, as Manny Parra pitched a two-inning save. Which leads me to my next point…
– At no point under the management of Dusty Baker would Baker have left a reliever in the game to pitch a two-inning save. It is rare now-a-days to see a two-inning save, but Baker was against using a closer for more than one inning. He stated multiple times that he refused to use Aroldis Chapman for more than one inning of work.
2. Situational Matchups
– Seemingly every game, barring injury, Dusty Baker liked to play the lefty-righty matchups in his favor. There is nothing wrong with this; however, Price on the other hand does not use this tactic as much. Reds fans saw it on Opening Day with the chance to pinch-hit late in the game. The Cardinals threw a right-handed pitcher in Adam Wainwright, and pinch-hit with Chris Heisey another right-handed batter. The likeliood that Dusty Baker would have hit Heisey is slim to none.
3. The Lineup
– This is one of the more noticeable differences between Price and Baker. This only comes down to one batter, but it is a significant change. For years Baker refused to bat back-to-back left-handers. Now under Price, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are hitting back-to-back against right-handed pitching.
4. The Defensive Shifts
– This might be the most controversial issue the team has faced. Whether it is Jay Bell‘s decision to call for the shift or Price’s, the Reds have been burnt nearly every single time they have thrown out a shift. There were not too many shifts seen by Dusty Baker.
The fans may judge for themselves if they think the changes are working or not. However, these are some differences between Baker and Price thus far.