CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Dusty Baker is all about playing the matchups. But with Game 3 of the National League Division Series in jeopardy Tuesday night, it was the move Baker didn't make that brought up questions Wednesday.
Giants runners advanced to second and third after a passed ball squeaked by Ryan Hanigan in the top of the 10th inning, leaving first base unoccupied. With two outs and Jonathan Broxton on the mound, Baker opted to pitch to the No. 8 hitter Joaquin Arias instead of walking him to get to the pitcher's spot and load the bases.
The move would have forced San Francisco to use its last position player -- Hector Sanchez -- and remove Sergio Romo from the game.
"In that situation, we knew that Arias was good against left-handers, and not that good of a hitter against right-handers," Baker said Wednesday. "Plus you had a chance to get Romo out of the game, but you had a dangerous pinch-hitter in Sanchez up next, he gets a hit or home run or whatever it is, Sanchez is a very good hitter. I don't want to put my pitcher in that situation."
Arias is hitting .270 on the year and .240 against right-handers, while Sanchez, a switch-hitter, is batting .280 with a .266 average against righties.
As the story goes, Arias bounced a grounder toward third baseman Scott Rolen, who fumbled the ball, committed an error and allowed the game-winning run to cross the plate in the Reds' 2-1 loss.
"In that situation, we had him out," Baker said. "It's not like he got a hit."
Romo has made two appearances against the Reds this postseason, pitching three perfect innings. Had Romo been removed, the Giants may have turned to Tim Lincecum, who was warming up in the bullpen the inning before.
"If Arias would have walked, I had to hit for him, so Timmy would have come in," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I knew Romo could give us two, that's why he went the ninth. Normally in a tie game you try to save your closer, but I knew with him going two innings I was going to start the ninth with him and have him pitch the ninth and 10th, and it worked out -- and I had a safety valve in Timmy, who was our long guy, and if that game is tied, then he comes in the game."
Lincecum came on in relief for just the second time in his career in the Reds' 9-0 win in Game 2, allowing one hit and striking out two in two innings.
Frazier, Navarro in for Rolen, Hanigan in Game 4
CINCINNATI -- For the first time in the National League Division Series, there were changes in manager Dusty Baker's lineup vs. the Giants in Game 4 on Wednesday.
Third baseman Scott Rolen was out and rookie Todd Frazier was in. At catcher, Dioner Navarro replaced regular catcher Ryan Hanigan and was starter Mike Leake's batterymate.
Although Hanigan's passed ball and Rolen's fielding error led to the Giants' go-ahead run scoring in the 10th inning of the Reds' 2-1 loss in Game 3, these were not benchings by any stretch. Baker usually has lineups in mind ahead of time.
"This is the same thing I have been doing all year long," Baker said. "I usually don't play Scott after day games. Even though this is an afternoon game and yesterday was an evening game, it's a situation where I'm going to get asked no matter who plays."
Frazier, who had an at-bat each in Games 2 and 3, batted .275 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs in 128 regular-season games that made him an NL Rookie of the Year candidate.
He did not find out about his first postseason start until Wednesday morning.
"I'm very excited," Frazier said. "I've got a couple of people here in town, and I couldn't ask for anything better. It's a good matchup for me, and I know I don't need to do too much. I just need to get on base, get guys in. I just need to have fun."
His group of supporters in the stands included his parents and his fiancée, Jackie, and her parents, all of whom traveled in from New Jersey.
Navarro, who was called up in late August from Triple-A Louisville, batted .290 in 24 games. He was also Leake's catcher over the right-hander's final six starts of the season.
Latos, Reds downplay concern about illness
CINCINNATI -- The Twitterverse suggested Tuesday that Reds right-hander Mat Latos was sick with the flu. Latos disagreed, to put it lightly.
"I never had the flu," he said. "Whoever tweeted that is an idiot."
So what exactly was Latos dealing with?
"He's OK. Everybody said he was sick, but it's a matter of him having allergies, just like I have and a lot of people in the Ohio Valley have here," manager Dusty Baker said. "Mat is Mat, you know what I mean? He's OK."
The Reds passed on a chance to start Latos in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday on three days' rest. He would instead start Game 5 on Thursday, if necessary, or would be a candidate to start Game 1 of the NL Championship Series on Sunday.
Mustachioed Price makes good on no-no bet
CINCINNATI -- Little did Reds pitching coach Bryan Price know that he would regret his words. During Spring Training, Price told his starting pitchers that he would grow a mustache if any of them threw a no-hitter.
Well, Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter on Sept. 28 at Pittsburgh and expected Price to make good.
"It's funny because as soon as Homer threw that no-hitter in Pittsburgh he reminded me of the mustache deal. I don't remember it," a newly clean-shaven Price said on Wednesday. "I'm sure I said something in Spring Training that, 'If any of you incompetents can potentially somehow throw a no-hitter, I would grow a mustache,' or something like that -- obviously all in jest."
Apparently, Bailey never forgets declarations. During the regular season, when broadcaster Marty Brennaman declared he would shave his head if the Reds won 10 games in a row, it was Bailey who remembered when the 10th win came. Brennaman shaved his hair and, for a while, Price didn't shave his lip.
"So after he was mobbed by his teammates, that's the first thing he said to me on the field in Pittsburgh," Price said of Bailey. "So I think I honored it. Almost two week's worth of mustache, looking at yourself for a ridiculous mustache, for me, didn't look too sharp. So I honored it, by going on national television with a mustache in a game that Homer pitched, and then once he got done with it, I couldn't get it off fast enough."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.