Tag: Don Mattingly


On running out of pitchers in the fall league and Don Mattingly


Last week I passed along an MLB.com story about Don Mattingly running out of pitchers while managing in the Arizona Fall League, causing the game to be stopped after seven innings.

Mattingly taking over as the Dodgers’ manager has been met with a lot of scrutiny, in part because he’s never managed before and in part because he committed several gaffes while subbing for Joe Torre in the past.

He’s participating in the AFL to gain some managerial experience before the games actually mean something, and so his running out of pitchers while there seemed plenty newsworthy (particularly since MLB.com ran a relatively lengthy story about it).

However, quite a few Dodgers fans have chimed in to say that the AFL incident is meaningless and covering it only serves to flame the “Mattingly is overmatched as a manager” fire. I don’t necessarily agree, but I’ll let Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts state his case:

As someone who wishes the next Dodger manager had more experience, I nevertheless found this to be completely unremarkable. Some people have been using it to launch more snark at Mattingly, but that snark betrays a lack of understanding of what the AFL is–a series of games designed to provide a limited number of players with practice in a (pseudo-)competitive setting.

The math is simple: Mattingly was given five pitchers to work with Thursday (two others were injured), and was expected to get them all in the game while adhering to strict pitch-count limits. Over the first six innings he used three hurlers, none of whom pitched all that well, leaving him with two for the final three.

The real trouble began with Dodger prospect Steven Ames, a 17th-round pick in 2009, couldn’t retire any of the seven batters he faced in the seventh inning. The next pitcher, Marlins prospect Steve Cishek, fared little better, retiring only two of the next seven batters, using 36 pitches in the process.  That forced Mattingly to use a sixth pitcher, Braves prospect Cory Gearrin, who was supposed to pitch today, in order to complete the seventh inning Thursday.

Weisman also quotes Mattingly as saying, basically, “My hands were tied and I’d do the same thing again.”

I don’t doubt that’s true, nor do I doubt that the whole thing is ultimately meaningless, but that doesn’t preclude it from being newsworthy given the interest in all things Mattingly-as-manager. With that said, many Dodgers fans are already tired of the topic, so I don’t blame them for pushing back at guys like me who bring it up. Or as Weisman put it: “Save the grievances about Mattingly for when they actually matter.”

Don Mattingly ran out of pitchers while managing in fall league


Hired as the Dodgers’ manager despite having zero actual managerial experience, Don Mattingly headed to the Arizona Fall League to get some games under his belt skippering the Phoenix Desert Dogs.

And as Scott Merkin of MLB.com writes, he ran out of pitchers in a blowout loss yesterday.

The game was originally ruled a forfeit after the top of the eighth inning ended, but then the statistics amassed would not have counted. A decision was made by the AFL to call this game due to a lack of pitching in order to avoid extending any fall league pitcher and lessen the chance for injury. The move came after Mattingly met with the umpiring crew on the field before the bottom of the eighth, and the crew then talked with Saguaros manager Ted Simmons.

Things were going OK until the seventh inning, when Dodgers prospect Steven Ames came into the game and allowed all seven batters he faced to reach base. Mattingly then used two other pitchers to get out of the inning, at which point the bullpen was apparently empty with six outs still to record.

Not exactly what Dodgers fans were hoping for as Mattingly tries to learn on the job, particularly after he had two embarrassing gaffes this season while managing following a Joe Torre ejection, allowing the team to bat out of order and being forced to remove closer Jonathan Broxton following an accidental visit to the mound.