Dusty Baker might have left starter Justin Verlander in too long in Game 1 of the World Series on Friday. After getting off to an impressive start, the club would blow a 5-0 lead, and would end up losing 6-5 in 10 innings.
The veteran manager took a much more cerebral approach in Game 2. Baker, with his now patented black gloves, prepared to dissect this matchup and pick the Philadelphia Phillies apart.
Down 0-1, it was desperation time and Dusty expressed that much after his team’s gut check, 5-2 win to tie the WS at 1-1.
#Astros Dusty Baker on winning game 2 being so important, nearly a must win. pic.twitter.com/WUWHK40g3T
— SportsTalk 790 (@SportsTalk790) October 30, 2022
Entering Saturday night’s crucial clash the MLBbro Manager decided to shake things up.
After all, the winner of Game 1’s in the World Series have gone on to win the series 65% of the time, so Baker was feeling the pressure.
Dusty Shakes Things Up For Game 2
Not only did he bench Trey Mancini, he moved Yordan Alvarez to the DH spot. His team didn’t stagger much from the Game 1 loss and got off to an electric start. After the rough loss in Game 1 of the 2022 World Series, the Houston Astros got off to another offensively-electric start. Through the first four pitches the Astros hit three doubles and ended up taking an early 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Although the club held the lead through the next several innings, the pressure of being down in the series may have called Dusty Baker to make a questionable, yet strategic challenge in the 5th inning.
Dusty Sways Momentum With Challenge
Baker challenged an out call at second base on a routine double play attempt that caught the baseball world off guard. And although the call was not overturned, it did throw off the momentum and rhythm that Phillies pitcher Zac Wheeler had. This was evident when the next batter, Alex Bregman came and smashed a 2-run homer over center field.
Baker pulled out all the stops trying to tie the series at 1-1 and was successful in doing just that. Now the series heads back to Philadelphia, and the Astros will look to steal a game there and regain home field advantage.
With Framber Valdez pitching a gem ( 9 strikeouts in 6.1 innings) Baker did not have to worry about whether or not to pull a starter in this game.
Dusty Baker talks with @Ken_Rosenthal after the @astros Game 2 #WorldSeries win pic.twitter.com/YaN74jXv7D
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 30, 2022
This was in fact, the longest outing by a starting pitcher in the World Series in three years. Valdez did the job they Verlander failed to do on Friday night.
But everyone knows the series will come down to how Dusty manages the bullpen.