Roberts tried to save Baez’s career but Pedro would have no part of that

It was exactly what every Dodger fan on the planet did not want to hear from Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis on the SportsNet LA television broadcast of Tuesday night’s game between the Dodgers and Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, or from Charlie Steiner on the AM 570 Sports LA radio broadcast of the game:

“Pedro Baez is warming up in the Dodgers bullpen.”

At the time, the Dodgers were nursing a precarious 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, with recently acquired right-hander Yu Darvish having pitched extremely well for 5.1 innings. The 6′-5″ / 220-pound right-hander had allowed only one unearned run on four hits while striking out seven and walking one. But with one out and a runner on second and at 97 pitches, it was clear that the 31-year-old Osaka, Japan native had run out of gas.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought in also recently acquired left-hander Tony Watson, who managed to escape the sixth inning without further damage courtesy of a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Phillies left fielder Aaron Altherr.

…and in came Pedro Baez.

Over the next 20 minutes, all the 29-year-old Bani, Dominican Republic native did was allow four runs on two hits and two walks before Roberts finally replaced him, but not before seven batters had come to the plate, of which Baez had retired only two. And even though Dodgers left-hander Tony Cingrani came in to strike out Phillies right fielder Nick Williams on three pitches to end the inning, the damage had been done in what would end up being an embarrassing 6-2 loss to the second worst team in all of baseball.

“Baez is missing by feet not inches,” former Dodger Rick Monday said during the radio broadcast of what may have been Pedro’s final inning pitched this season.

The burning question is, of course, why didn’t Roberts pull Baez before the game got out of hand instead of waiting until it had? And even though many – perhaps most – Dodger fans are having a hard time swallowing the Dodger skipper’s answer, it made sense … well, sort of.

“It was a tough night,” Roberts told a very curious media corps after the game. “I thought in that situation, I felt it was his inning – the bottom part of the order, we have three innings to go. I just felt like you’ve got to run him out there and you’ve got to give him the opportunity to get three outs.”

He did not.

Baez bends over in disgust after issuing a one out / six-pitch walk to Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez to load the bases. All three baserunners would eventually come around to score. It’s probably safe to say that Baez successfully pitched himself off of the Dodgers playoff roster.
(Video capture courtesy of SportsNet LA)

But there was another reason why Roberts left his once very effective bridge to closer Kenley Jansen out there to fall on his sword (repeatedly) – to see if Baez is worthy of a spot on the Dodgers 25-man postseason roster.

“There’s a point where obviously we’ve got to make some decisions in the next week or two. Obviously, where Pedro was at a few weeks ago versus where he’s at now, he’s in a different spot,” said Roberts. “You’ve got to take your best 25 when you’re talking about potentially getting a postseason roster together.”

If there was ever a doubt whether or not Pedro Baez is among the Dodgers best 25, there isn’t anymore.


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7 Responses to “Roberts tried to save Baez’s career but Pedro would have no part of that”

  1. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I noticed that Pedro was having trouble throwing strike three. It seemed he couldn’t throw it past the hitters. No matter what he did they managed to get a piece of it.
    Personally I think if he would’ve gotten past Ruys Hoskins, I would’ve considered it a tremendous outing for only allowing one run and I’m sure it would’ve done wonders for his confidence.
    Thanks to the Padres the magic # is 2.

  2. Respect the Rivalry says:

    “I felt it was his inning – the bottom part of the order. . .” Right, Doc. But when he reached the bottom the game was still salvageable but Pedro was in trouble. The rest of the inning was the top of he order.
    So, the clinching number is now 2? So if the Dodgers win tonight I’ll be rooting for the Snakes. Dodgers will clinch, but they’ve got to do it themselves.
    Enough backing up! It’s time to go forward in high gear!

  3. CruzinBlue says:

    Hate to say this… can’t even believe I’m going to “go there”… but it looks like Ross Stripling is headed down the Pedro Baez path.

    • Respect the Rivalry says:

      Then don’t go there. It’s not correct. There’s no resemblance between the two.
      Stripling is going through a bad stretch, as are other Dodgers. He’ll recover, maybe soon, maybe not this year.
      Baez has gone back to the way he pitched before this year. We all know he wasn’t good then. This year he started using all his pitches and attacking the strike zone. We all saw the results.
      Simply put, he’s pitching timid. He’s afraid to go to his secondary pitches. This guy has a change up that can tie the batter in knots before it gets to the plate, but he won’t use it. OK, maybe a small exaggeration.
      Maybe it’s too much thinking. He needs to just throw his best pitch for each situation.

      • CruzinBlue says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Ross Stripling. My concern is that he might be trying to play through an injury. At this time of the year we need everyone to step up. I hope he’s OK.

        • Respect the Rivalry says:

          Nor should you get me wrong either. I’m merely pointing out that Stripling’s problems are far different from Baez’s.
          I want to see him succeed. Heck, I want to see both of them succeed but I think Baez is at the end of his rope.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      Agree with RTR – comparing Strip to Baez is apples to oranges.

      As you probably figured out, Ross is my closest friend in the Dodgers clubhouse (and the nicest guy in the world). He and I have had many discussions during the season. Early in the year his cutter (an absolutely filthy pitch) would occasionally sink straight down. Honeycutt and Josh Ward asked him how he did it and he didn’t know, it would just happen. When he would intentionally try to throw it, is was flat and occasionally ended up in the pavilions, so he scrapped it … and fast.

      It appears to me that his most recent issues stem from his cutter not cutting enough and hanging over the plate – hence that pavilion thing again.

      All of this said, and with Maeda (confirmed) and Ryu (likely) to be bullpen pieces in the postseason, it’s fair to say that Ross probably will not be on the postseason roster – at least not initially.

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