It's the bottom of the 6th in the Reds game with second and third, two out, in a 2-0 game. The Reds have managed almost nothing against Josh Johnson. Maybin, the no. 8 hitter, is up. He's 0-2 with 2 k's against Harang. Baker decides to intentionally walk Maybin and pitch to Johnson. Harang strikes out Johnson to end the inning. Both Grande and Welch said it was a great try by Dusty to try and get Johnson out of the game in favor of a pinch hitter. I don't know if Dusty did it hoping that they would pinch hit or just to help Harang out of the inning. I hope it was the latter, because the former wouldn't have worked and, in fact, would have the opposite result. (I'm writing this now, so it's not hindsight.)
Harang should have pitched to Maybin. Harang owned him in his previous at bats. More importantly, there was no chance, zero, that the Marlins would pinch hit for Johnson in that situation while he's pitching a shut out through 6. If Harang gets Maybin (likely) the Marlins would be much more likely to pinch hit for Johnson leading off their half of the 7th. Instead, by getting him out of the way in the bottom of the 6th, Dusty just made it more likely that Johnson would stay in and finish the shut out, because his spot in the order probably won't come up again (unless the Marlins are scoring again, in which case this is all academic anyway.)
Epilogue: Johnson just gave up a run, so he likely won't complete the game. But it was the hitters, not Dusty who will have chased Johnson.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
4 weeks ago