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.