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.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.