Back in late May, Baker gave Joey Votto his first day off when he sensed he was dragging. A refreshed Votto then went on a serious tear at the plate.
"You take in consideration the past games you've played," Baker said on Saturday. "You take in consideration the present games and the importance of the series and who you're playing and who you're going to play next. And weather conditions, matchups and a lot of things go into it."
Baker never wants to give a game away by benching a player or two, and players have learned to trust him when he tells them they're sitting.
"Historically, my teams that have been good teams and gone to the playoffs, except my 2010 team, we had an excellent record in September and early October," Baker said. "You try to win every day, naturally, but you monitor their playing time throughout the course of the year, because when they're out of gas, they're out of gas. In this marathon, if you kick at mile 20, you might crawl to the finish. I told our guys it's not hero time yet. It's getting there, though."
Baker indicated that center fielder Drew Stubbs could be rested on Sunday, and that left fielder Ryan Ludwick might be next.
"It depends on how he feels, physically. He's been sore lately," Baker said of Ludwick. "This is the most he's played in a long time. You try to monitor his play. Everybody wants to know why he doesn't play every day, but he's had a history of getting banged up. You try to preserve him until this fall weather gets here."