Dusty Baker had a choice to make heading into the seventh inning of last night’s NLDS finale, and both options would have been defensible.
Nobody would have blamed him for keeping Max Scherzer, who had thrown 99 pitches and worked himself through some high-stress situations at that point, on the bench; and no mobs would have formed if Baker had decided to let his ace pitch through one more inning, because that’s what aces are for.
But instead of choosing either of those sensible options, Baker managed to split the difference, going with a third option that led to his team’s unraveling.
Who the hell knows what Scherzer would have made of the rest of that inning if Baker had decided to leave him in after Pederson’s dinger.
Maybe he would have gotten the next three outs in 15 pitches; maybe he would have walked a few guys and coughed up the game himself; maybe he would have spontaneously combusted.