Houston now trails 3-1 in the Top Seven series.
“I can’t lie to you: there were prayers over there on the way back to the canoe,” Baker said. “Sometimes I talk to my dad, and I just have a feeling.
Houston had just taken the lead in the bottom of the fifth at Petco Park on George Springer’s two-point circuit. Then the Rays put two runners on base with one out and red Randy Arozarena took a step towards the trim. Baker walked over to the mound to assess the situation and returned to the canoe alone, leaving for Greinke.
Greinke put Arozarena out on a verified swing for the second out. Then Ji-Man Choi rebounded a single on the field that Carlos Correa prevented from going into the outfield, preserving a run but loading the bases for Mike Brosseau. Baker had right-hander Cristian Javier and Ryan Pressly in the bullpen.
Baker bonded again with Greinke, who knocked out Brosseau with a change, stifling the Rays threat.
“I was just saying it was good to have someone trust me,” said Greinke. “Because since I’ve been here, they don’t seem to trust my abilities. So it was good that it happened at an important moment like this.
The streak was the reverse of a recent and painful memory for Astros fans. In Game 7 of last year’s World Series, Greinke mowed down the Washington Nationals’ lineup, shutting them down for 6⅓ innings with a low number of shots.
Greinke then abandoned a solo homerun against Anthony Rendon of Washington, who reduced Houston’s lead to 2-1, and marched Juan Soto. He had faced 22 batters, but had only pitched 80 shots, but former Astros manager AJ Hinch did what most modern managers do with a starter who is on his third time in the game. order. Hinch pulled Greinke out.
Relief Will Harris came in and Howie Kendrick of Washington had a two-run homerun off the right-field foul post, propelling the Nationals to the championship. Greinke admitted that the streak was one of the examples of lack of confidence he referred to.
When Brosseau came in with the bases loaded, Greinke had again faced 22 batters, and his pitch count was 87. Baker’s patience was bolstered by his visit to the mound, during which he did not speak to Greinke but receiver Martin Maldonado, who vouched for his pitcher. .
“My plan was to take it out, but I wasn’t really convinced with my plan,” Baker said. “Sometimes you look into the guy’s eyes, sometimes you listen to the catcher, and you do what you have to do.
Baker, 71, has long been known as a manager by gut, few of whom have remained in baseball. The Astros have made a name for themselves as one of the most analytically advanced organizations in baseball during their rise to prominence in recent years. But after the sign-stealing scandal that rocked the Astros and baseball last winter, Baker’s ability to connect with players and his reputation for integrity landed him the job of replacing Hinch.
Meanwhile, Greinke has long been known as one of baseball’s most cerebral and creative pitchers. It turns out that Baker’s old-fashioned ability to read players and not numbers is a trait of Greinke’s values.
“He reads people really well, and I don’t think I’ve seen him make a bad decision when he sees [something] Said Greinke. He was right 100 percent of the time. Not everyone has this skill. Few people do. He’s been impressive in that regard, that’s for sure. ”
As for Baker, it’s hard for him not to have a good bit of old school in him, given that his managerial career started in 1993, and his playing career started at the big league level in 1968, when Hank Aaron was among his teammates.
He mentioned the factors in the decision to leave Greinke: the seriousness of the contest, the third pass factor in the order, Arozarena’s status as the hottest hitter in the playoffs and the fact that Arozarena made a home run against Greinke earlier in the game.
Why did Baker leave Greinke behind?
” I do not know. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t, ”Baker said.