Chess Match: Game, set, NLDS

Chess Match: Game, set, NLDS

DENVER -- Rockies manager Clint Hurdle continued to push the right buttons, sending up Jeff Baker as a pinch-hitter in a critical spot and winding up with the sweep of the National League Division Series.

Walking Matsui
The situation:
Two out, bottom of the seventh inning, Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba on second base and Kazuo Matsui up.


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The decision: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel decides to have Matsui walked intentionally to have Tom Gordon pitch to Troy Tulowitzki.

The outcome: Tulowitzki strikes out.

The analysis: Not much went the Phillies' way in this series, but Manuel wisely took the hot bat out of the hands of Matsui, and Gordon fanned Tulowitzki, who went 2-for-12 in the series.

Jeff Baker?
The situation:
Two out, bottom of the eighth, runners on the corners, pitcher's spot up.


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The decision: Hurdle sends up Baker to pinch-hit for Brian Fuentes.

The outcome: Baker singles in the tiebreaking run, which would prove to be decisive.

"I'm thinking, 'He's due.'" -- Hurdle, on summoning Baker from the bench

Managerial matchups
The situation:
One out in the top of the seventh with the score tied, runner on first base, Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz coming to bat.


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The decision: Manuel replaced Ruiz with left-handed hitter Greg Dobbs and Hurdle replaced Ubaldo Jimenez with right-handed reliever Matt Herges.

The outcome: Dobbs grounded out.

The analysis: "We've got four guys down there with closer experience, and Matt is one of them." -- Hurdle, on his confidence in Herges

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