In big moment, rookie Baez pays for missing his spot

In big moment, rookie Baez pays for missing his spot

LOS ANGELES -- Virtually lost amid the eight runs allowed by Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the National League Division Series were the three runs that scored with rookie reliever Pedro Baez on the mound, which actually were the difference for the Dodgers between winning and losing in their 10-9 setback.

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

That manager Don Mattingly would be using Baez in the seventh inning of a one-run game is a statement on the uncertain condition of the Dodgers' bullpen, which was impacted when veteran Chris Perez, who threw seven scoreless innings in September, was jettisoned after missing a $500,000 bonus by one appearance. 

Baez, a third baseman until last season, spent most of this season splitting time between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque when he wasn't an injury replacement being shuttled back and forth to the Dodgers.

He was called up for good Aug. 5 when Paco Rodriguez was injured and by early September began getting the ball in pressure situations, moving ahead of Brandon League in the pecking order and finishing the season with a 2.63 ERA in 20 games.

With two outs in the seventh inning of Game 1 Friday, Baez inherited Matt Carpenter, who chased Kershaw with a three-run double, and allowed a three-run homer to Matt Holliday, although his real sin was walking his first batter, rookie Randal Grichuk.

"Just misses his spot," Mattingly said. "We know where we have to go with guys, and if you don't get the ball where you want it, then you get hurt. There's not a whole lot of tricks with Pedro. It's power stuff, but still, he's able to locate and yesterday he missed his spot and you miss a spot with that guy, you end up paying.

"The at-bat that hurt us was the Grichuk walk. That's what extended that. That's the guy you got to get."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.