Friday, October 4, 2013

"How To Lose In The Playoffs" By Damn Mattingly

If I only had a sawbuck for every time Damn Mattingly made a dopey baseball decision.

Today was a gritty game for the Dodgers. The teams and the game were evenly matched, and that's the circumstance where a manager can make a difference and steal or lose a game.  The guy managing the Braves isn't exactly the second coming of Connie Mack, but today he was smarter than Mattingly. 

Dodger Ace Number 2, Zack Greinke pitched well enough.  He left after six, losing, but only behind 2-1.  This was still anyone's ballgame.  Enter the Decisions of Don.

The game was close and tense for both sides, but Mattingly suddenly made himself a huge factor in the game.  He brought in Chris Withrow to replace Zack Greinke.  Withrow, in his first postseason appearance, withered, immediately giving up a single and a walk.  Not on Don.  The kid just didn't get the job done.

In comes Paco Rodriguez and the madness that is Mattingly baseball took full effect.  He had Paco intentionally walk Reed Johnson.  Yup, Don took out one pitcher, and brought in another pitcher and asked him to throw four wide ones to his first batter.  In order to load the bases for Jason Heyward.  

It's one thing to ask a pitcher midgame to walk a guy, but it's absolutely ridiculous to bring in a pitcher, straight from warm ups, and head psyching himself into game mode, to immediately chill out and toss an easy four balls.  And then, to immediately return to game face for the next guy.  

After Reed was walked, Jason Heyward stepped in.  Paco did his best, but of course his first two pitches to Heyward missed the strike zone. (High and wide. Hmmm...)   Paco, in his first-ever playoff appearance, must have felt compelled to force a pitch into the strike zone.  He sure didn't want to go 3-0 to the batter, with two Braves standing on bases behind him.   Heyward was sitting on that hitter's count and nailed a two-run single right up the middle.

A 2-1 score was now 4-1 and the game shifted permanently in Atlanta's favor. The Dodgers didn't go quietly, however.  Hanley Ramirez was money all day, and he hit a 2-run home run in the 8th to get us to within one.  The Dodgers even got a couple of runners on in the ninth - albeit, not both at the same time - but all of that wasn't enough to overcome Mattingly baseball.  Not tonight. 


  1. I used the exact same word to describe Mattingly's decision-making last night: "dopey."