For a guy who is supposedly Joe Torre’s heir apparent, Don Mattingly hasn’t exactly distinguished himself the couple of times he’s had the chance to manage. You’ll recall that the Dodgers batted out of order the last time Mattingly was in charge. He blundered again last night.
Both Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer were ejected following a series of plunkings, and that put Donnie Baseball at the helm. Mattingly came out to talk to his closer Jonathan Broxton. After the chat, he left the mound to walk back to the dugout but then turned around to say something more, treading on the mound a second time. Bruce Bochy realized this was, technically speaking, a second mound visit, and it required that Broxton be removed from the game. You can see it all go down here, complete with Vin Scully voice-over.
That meant the recently ineffective George Sherrill had to come in. Sherill promptly gave up a two-run double to Andres Torres, which
made it 6-5 Giants. They ended up taking it 7-5.
Is the two-visit rule a dumb rule? Maybe when it’s applied in the case of a simple about-face like Mattingly did (the rationale for the rule is clearly to speed the game along, and Mattingly’s second “visit” lasted mere seconds). But it’s not something guys get caught up on very often. Bochy certainly knew the rule. According to the game story the Dodgers players did too, because they were telling Mattingly to stop before he stepped foot back on the mound. It’s really something Mattingly should have known.
Maybe this has no bearing whatsoever on what kind of a manager Don Mattingly will be some day, but when you don’t have a track record of managing to fall back on, this kind of stuff is going to stick out in everyone’s mind when it comes time to make the decision of who replaces Joe Torre.