I hope Mattingly can beat this disease-Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Don Mattingly’s Torre-Disease Infection could have Dire effects on the Dodger Bullpen


We had the flu bug going around the Dodger’s clubhouse this week.  While Clayton Kershaw was getting ill, we also had another sickness going around the Dodger dugout during the opening series, and it seems to have inflicted our very own manager Don Mattingly. This terrible disease is called….the Joe Torre Disease. What is the Joe Torre Disease? Just take a look at the official definition of the disease according to the Baseball annoying manager afflictions Wikipedia….

The Joe Torre Disease, is a devastating disease that only afflicts managers, but symptoms can directly effect reliable relief pitchers. This terrible disease causes the following symptoms…Completely overworking the entire bullpen until arms are ready to fall off…bringing in six or more pitchers every game….using the same one or two pitchers for all relief and or save situations, while the rest of the bullpen is ordered to sit and watch. ..a rash of reconstructive arm surgeries. The sickness is named after the first manager to be officially diagnosed with this illness. There is no known cure.

Torre has also been found to have some kind of rare disease that makes it impossible for him to smile

At least Donnie doesn’t have that disease too right?….oh wait…uh-oh…..

Of course nobody knows how Mattingly was infected, it seemed he was impervious to this disease when he began his first season.

We all had high hopes that Mattingly had escaped infection, but then Kershaw got sick with the flu, and that triggered the Torre-Disease. As a result, Dodger’s manager Don Mattingly’s trigger happy usage of the bullpen over the weekend was perplexing and worrisome. Not that I am saying that going to the bullpen wasn’t the right call. After all, it wasn’t Mattingly’s fault that Clayton Kershaw came down with the flu and was only able to give three innings. Of course we all should give Kershaw mad props for his fortitude, he has poise beyond his years. Damn you little flu germs! Unfortunately those flu germs threw the Dodger pitching staff out of whack. So did the underwhelming performances and all the walkapaloozas. None of these were Mattingly’s fault, but I have to wonder if he could have used the bullpen more efficiently.

Mattingly had to use five pitchers in Thursday’s game, seven in Saturday’s game, and four on Sunday. Of course Harang and Capuano combined for ten of the 21 walks issued by Dodger pitching over the weekend. This increased usage led to a bag of mixed results. Chad Billingsley was the only starter to go past the fifth inning in the entire series for the Dodgers. (If Kershaw hadn’t been sick, he would have gone past five for sure) How clutch was his performance? If Billingsley has been able to right the ship, then that is a huge lift to the pitching staff. Josh Lindblom, and Matt Guerrier both looked sharp. Both providing a total of six scoreless frames. Javy Guerra saved two games this weekend, and also looked sharp. Kenley Jansen is the only reliever not to walk anyone during the series.

I think things should stabilize, because of the day off, and because a healthy germ free Kershaw is set to start the home opener on Tuesday. Still the increased bullpen usage is a little disconcerting. I never thought that Mattingly would  become infected so quickly with the Torre-Disease.

If we hark-en back to the days of the Joe Torre regime, we can remember clearly his annoying compulsive habit of blowing through the entire bullpen each and every game. One time he used three pitchers to get three outs, with each pitcher pitching to just one batter. (That actually worked by the way, but still) Torre’s habit of using seven or more pitchers every single game, led to the direct destruction of several solid bullpen arms.

This is the essence of the Torre-Syndrome. Many relievers have suffered as a result of it. Just listen to the following relief pitchers and how this serious illness has affected their careers…..

Ramon Troncoso- “I was once an effective late-inning reliever. A ground ball specialist if you will. Then all of a sudden, I am pitching in every single game. One inning today, two innings tomorrow, two more innings the next day. Now my sinker won’t sink. It just spins. My arm doesn’t feel the same I have been designated for assignment because of my poor performances. I never thought this illness could affect me at all. My condolences go out to all the other pitchers who have been affected.”

Jonathon Broxton- “ I was once dominating. Then I was brought in every single game. I often wondered why Ramon and I were the only one’s pitching every day. The rest of the guys were just ordered to watch. They were never even told to warm up. One day I was told to pitch in five games during one week, and on the fifth game, I was left in for 48 pitches. Now I am giving up hits in KC.”

Carlos Monasterios-“I have been the most affected by this terrible disease. My arm is destroyed. I was a rule five guy. Never pitched in the minor leagues, and then I was called up to the big club. I was so excited initially, and very pleased at first with all the action on the mound I was getting. However the innings began taking it’s toll on my arm. I told the skip that my arm was bothering me, but he looked at me like he didn’t understand, and just said to me that I pitch tomorrow. I was brought in for a five inning relief appearance the next day. Eventually I had to have two major arm surgeries. I might never pitch again. I never knew the skip was sick. I just hope one day that we can find a cure for this terrible disease.”

 

We could clearly see signs of the disease this weekend as Don Mattingly brought in Jamey Wright with the bases loaded in high leverage situations twice. Even after he threw eight straight lollipops during Saturday’s fifth inning walkapallooza. The next day with our skipper infected with full blown symptoms, he called in Jamey Wright to pitch again. All total, Mattingly made 17 pitching changes during the four game series.

Because of this illness, the pitching staff was taxed beyond belief. This could have dire consequences for our young pitchers for years to come. The biggest worry is the amount of walks the staff is allowing. The Dodger staff allowed 21 walks in the four game series in San Diego. They allowed ten walks on Saturday, and eight walks on Sunday.  So please this week while at home, cut it out Donnie.

While there is no known cure for this disease, there is however treatment options. If you or any of your loved ones have fallen victim to this disease, please contact Lasorda’s Lair immediately. We will be more than happy to provide counseling for anyone who has been affected. There is only one sure fire treatment for the Joe Torre-Disease. That is of course a complete game shutout win from Clayton Kershaw this Tuesday. If you or anyone you know has been affected by this disease, please don’t hesitate to call if you need help. Our operators are standing by to assist. Toll Free number-1-800-nomoreblownarms

Tags: Dodgers Don Mattingly Joe Torre

  • Jon Weisman

    I can understand quibbling about bringing in Wright with the bases loaded, but your workload complaint re: the first four games is completely lost on me. What exactly are you proposing Mattingly should have done as an alternative to using those relievers when he had three of four starters gone before the fifth inning was done?

    • LasordasLair

       @Jon Weisman
       I just thought bringing in Wright was a bad call, but as for the workload. I think he could have used the pen a bit more efficient. Now all of the guys are a bit overworked and its only four games into the season. If you are going to bring in Wright, then do it at the beginning of the inning and for long relief. not with the bases loaded. He should have had a couple of the guys pitch more than an inning. It seems like he has issues usingn relievers for more than an inning, and he likes to make pitching changes with the bases loaded. Just needs improvement.

      • Jon Weisman

         @LasordasLair 
        Lindblom and Jansen each had two inning outings.
         
        The problem with this piece is that is focuses at great length on Torre’s penchant for overworking relievers, yet Mattingly didn’t overwork anyone. Lindblom was the only reliever to throw more than 25 pitches, and each time he did so on at least two days rest. No Dodger pitcher had double-digit pitch counts on consecutive days. The only pitcher who pitched three days in a row was the most expendable one, Wright. The only young pitcher who pitched on consecutive days, Elbert, threw 6 pitches in one of the games.  Considering that Mattingly had 18 relief innings to fill in four days, including poor performances by Elbert and Coffey, that’s actually kind of an amazing feat and more worthy of praise than derision.
         
        “All total, Mattingly made 17 pitching changes during the four game series….
        Because of this illness, the pitching staff, was taxed beyond belief. This could have dire consequences for our young pitchers for years to come.”
         
        This is an exaggeration and a contradiction at the same time. If Mattingly had used a young pitcher repeatedly and at length, it might make sense, but that simply didn’t happen in San Diego. Not once.
         
        I would have just complained about using Wright with the bases loaded and stopped there.

        • LasordasLair

           @Jon Weisman
          Jon
           I decided to go the extra mile. He did use everyone at least twice.20-25 pitches for middle relief guys the first week of the season is a bit much. He just used too many pitchers. He made a lot of pitching changes. I counted 17 in total, but I have may have miscounted, but it is at least 14 or 15 for the four games. Maybe I did exaggerate a little bit, but I believe he could have been more efficient with his usage. The staff was taxed pretty considerably. If this conntinues we might have issues later in the season.  

        • LasordasLair

           @Jon Weisman
           Don’t forget to factor in all the times they had to warm up, and sit down.

        • LasordasLair

           @Jon Weisman
           Jon,
          Jansen made 44 pitches
          Lindblom made 61
          MacDougal made 36
          Guerra made 31
          Guerrier 25
           
          You don’t think that is a bit taxing for the first week, and four games?

        • Jon Weisman

           @LasordasLair No.
          All five of the pitchers you just named each got at least a day’s rest before they pitched.
           
          Lindblom, who pitched the most, got more than a day’s rest.
           
          And again, what alternative are you offering? What exactly was Mattingly supposed to do?
           
          It’s just amazing to me that you’re criticizing Mattingly for using too many pitchers AND overworking the pitchers he used? You’re sitting here saying he should have used fewer pitchers and that the pitchers should have thrown fewer pitches. Don’t you see that that’s impossible?
           

        • Jon Weisman

           @LasordasLair Given how many pitching changes were made, wouldn’t that indicate that they did not warm up and then sit down very often?

        • Jon Weisman

           @LasordasLair 
          If the Dodgers continue to get one starter past the fifth inning every four games, there are going to be much bigger issues than Mattingly’s bullpen usage.
           
           

        • LasordasLair

           @Jon Weisman
           Yes they did have a day off because of the Billingsley start, but it was the way he used them. His misusing of Wright threw most of the pen off, and he had to overuse most of them to make up for it. Are you saying I can’t question the manager? second guessing the manager is part of the game. Isnt Wright supposed to be a long reliever? not a one out guy?

        • LasordasLair

           @Jon Weisman
           Now this is true.

        • Jon Weisman

           @LasordasLair Come on – I wasn’t saying that you can’t second-guess the manager. But the second-guessing should make sense.
           
          You still have not made the case that the bullpen was overused, given the short outings by the starters.  I would like to see how you would have divided 18 innings among the relievers without some of them, by your definition, being overused.
           
          Like I said, I agree with you on not using Wright with the bases loaded in a close game.

        • LasordasLair

           @Jon Weisman
           To me it does make sense. I posted the pitch counts above. You don’t think those are a bit excessive for only the first three days of the season?
           
          If it were me, I would have used two of the long man to eat most of those innings to save some wear and tear on the rest of the guys arms. One or two being overused is better than four or five. My two cents

  • organicallyrude

    If Mattingly had brought in someone like Guerrier or Coffey or anyone really to try to get out of those bases loaded jams then bring in Wright to pitch a few innings, fine. But bringing in Wright in such a high pressure situation when he’s more of a long reliever is puzzling to me.

  • CallingTheGame

    @organicallyrude Thanks for thinking of us! Good stuff. More later.

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