The in game management for the Dodgers has been terrible this season. Don Mattingly continues to be unable to pull the correct triggers during games. Even worse he keeps making the same mistakes during games over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. You know they say, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insane, well check out this familiar blunder Mattingly made during the Dodgers 5-3 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.
This is a mistake Mattingly has made time and time again, and I just don’t understand why he keeps making the same mistakes over and over again without learning anything from them. Is he just stubborn?
Case in point, the Dodgers were losing 4-3 to the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday. Carl Crawford led off the frame with a double off of reliever Seth Maness. With a runner on second with none out, and that runner having the speed that Crawford has, it seemed likely the Dodgers would be able to tie the game easily. As long as they did nothing to screw themselves, like say bunting Crawford over to third, when he’s already in scoring position right???
Except for the fact that Don Mattingly manages the Dodgers, and he feels that bunting guys from second to third is a great use of managerial skill. Excuse me while I puke.
So when Mattingly ordered the very next batter, second baseman Mark Ellis to bunt Crawford over to third, I wasn’t surprised, but still irate with annoyance. Ellis was able to do his job, and his sacrifice bunt moved Crawford to third. But now there was one out, with a man on third, instead of none out and a man on second. Either way, bunting a guy over who is already in scoring position is stupid.
The problem with this was two-fold because it also helped take the bat out of the Dodger’s best hitter’s hands. The Cardinals intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez, which was expected after he had homered earlier, and had driven in all three of the Dodger runs. After Gonzalez was intentionally walked, Andre Ethier was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Unfortunately the Cardinals brought in power arm Trevor Rosenthal. The Flame thrower whiffed A.J. Ellis. Then with two outs, Mattingly’s inability to react quick enough during games hit home hard when Skip Schumaker was allowed to bat with the bases loaded and the game on the line. He predictably whiffs as well, and the inning ends with the Dodgers scoring nothing.
The bunting attempt doomed the scoring rally before it even began. Not only did the bunt accomplish nothing, give away an out, but it also took the bat out of the Dodger’s best hitter’s (Gonzalez) hands. Brilliant strategy skipper.
The game seems to move to quickly for Mattingly and his failure to think ahead during critical moments in games has cost the Dodgers dearly in 2013. By far the worst part of his atrocious in game management is his inability to learn from his mistakes. Bunting a guy from second to third is not smart, and I expect a major league manager to already know this. Especially after trying it, and having it fail over and over and over again.
Outs are precious, and I don’t want to get into another is bunting good or bad debate, but it’s proven that bunting never ever leads to runs or anything else worthwhile. You never want to give away outs especially when you’re a team like the Dodgers who has a lot of problems scoring runs.
In game management is more important than you think. It’s cost the Dodgers extensively in 2013. I like Mattingly, and he is a nice guy, but if he keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, then things will never change, and in game management will continue to plague the Dodgers. For once I would like for Mattingly to pull the right triggers and manage the team to a win. And stop giving away scoring rallies. I’m not asking for much here.