Swinging on 3-0?

Rarely does Dusty Baker call out a player for a mistake but he was livid after Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Royals. In the fifth inning after wild Royals pitcher Kyle Davies had already walked two, Brandon Phillips swung on a 3-0 pitch and ended the inning and rally with a routine fly out to right field.

“Brandon was supposed to be taking on that 3-0,” Baker said. “That could have been the ballgame because we had him on the ropes at that time. He said he didn’t see the take but in that situation, you have to know you’re taking even if you don’t see the take. That’s a big play in the ballgame. “I know [third base coach] Mark [Berry] gave it to him. I saw him give it to him.”

Here is Phillips’ retort. Although he apologized, he wasn’t really too contrite.

“Honestly, in that situation, why wouldn’t I swing on 3-0?” Phillips said. “We only had two hits at the time. Our offense stinks right now. I respect my teammates and they know it too. They see what’s going on. We really haven’t faced anyone overmatching us. I can understand if we’re facing No. 1 pitchers but we’re not. Our team is too good to get out by the pitchers we’re facing. We should be undefeated on this road trip.

“We’re struggling. We’re not getting anybody on base. We haven’t been hitting with people in scoring position. I had an opportunity. I swung on 3-0. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even look down there. I was trying to make something happen.”

“If I would have come through, it would have been the best play we’ve had all year,” Phillips said. “It would have been a tie game. I tried to make something happen because we don’t have anything going on right now. For future reference, I will not do it again. I apologized to everybody and said ‘my bad for the 3-0 swing.’”

Who was right in your opinion — Baker or Phillips?

My opinion: I get where Phillips was trying to make something happen but that wasn’t the right time to do that. Not when Davies was giving away bases with walks. I will be curious to see if Phillips is in the lineup Sunday, especially after admitting he didn’t look at Berry in the coach’s box.

5 Comments

I actually have to agree with Phillips here, especially seeing Nix, Gomes, and Bruce all strike out with a chance to get the game close in the 8th inning. The Reds may be over .500, but Dusty Baker(unfortunately, I might add) has absolutely nothing to do with it. 3-0 is the best count to swing on, while 3-1 gives a pitcher more room to fool the hitter. He needed offense, and as NONE of the Reds are really hitting, especially Nix who was up next, Baker needed to have Phillips(his best hitter at the moment, BTW) swing, not walk just so the next guy could strike out. Sorry, Dusty, but you are wrong.

The previous poster has got to be the most ignorant baseball fan I’ve heard on this site. Brandon Phillips is dead wrong! After hearing his self-serving comments after the game my guess is that he either saw the take sign and chose to ignore it, or he didn’t even look down to Berry intentionally because he had already determined he was going to swing at the next pitch. Either way he should be fined heavily. Maybe if he wants to be the manager of this team he should retire and send Mr. Castellini an application. Until then you do what the manager says.

I’m not ignorant, I’ve watched my Reds stink at swinging the bat ever since Votto went down. I’ve watched Nix strike out way too many times in important positions. I’ve watched way too many instances of Darnell Macdonald pinch hitting for a non-pitcher with runners in scoring position to believe in Dusty Baker. If Phillips had taken there, it probably would have been strike one, and Davies might not have thrown him any balls the rest of the at bat, and when Phillips got out you would be complaining(kind of like you are now). Or, if he had walked, Nix would have struck out swinging(like he did later) and you would STILL be complaining. The Reds need some kind of spark, and walking just isn’t going to get it. You need your best hitter swinging away, like it or not.

“Our team is too good to get out by the pitchers we’re facing.” Oh, really, Mr. Phillips? And what was the result of your 3-0 swing? Oh, yeah, an out. If he had taken a few more pitches, the odds were in his favor that he would get on base, as opposed to walking back to the dugout, which, incidentally, is how things ended up. But then again, as his career line supports, Philllips probably regards the base on balls as an annoying aberration with no real value. God forbid he “makes something happen” by showing some restraint at the plate. What a moron. Dusty went easy on him.

btw, i was defending Phillips philosophy about swinging away, but if your manager gives the take sign, you need to take. However, concerning the philosophy, Hall of Famer Johnny Bench said it best, “Little men walk, Big Men hit.” Right now, Phillips is the biggest man on our team, and he needs to be swinging(but next time follow skipper’s orders, even if Baker is wrong).

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