Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Ninth-inning errors undo streaking Dodgers

Brandon League had a classic Jonathan Broxton-style loss today (and I realize that putting both those names in the same sentence could do to the Internet what Walter White does to dispose a body on Breaking Bad).

League took the mound trying to keep the Dodgers alive against the Phillies, a fielder made an error, Carlos Ruiz did something, and then a fielder made another error, and the game was over. The Dodgers, who hadn’t lost since August 6 and hadn’t surrendered a lead of any kind since August 8, wasted Andre Ethier’s home run off lefthander Cole Hamels, let a 2-0 midgame advantage slip away and fell to Philadelphia, 3-2.

So no, this loss shouldn’t get pinned on League, who isn’t nearly as good as the Internet-abused Broxton was in his heyday and couldn’t get a strikeout when he needed one, but nevertheless deserved to get out of the inning without a run. Hanley Ramirez, who went 0 for 4 before making both ninth-inning errors, will have to be the fall guy for this one. Given Ramirez’s track record in 2013, he can take it.

You can also fault Don Mattingly for feeling the need to put League into a tie game in the ninth in place of a sizzling Paco Rodriguez (who had retired four batters on 15 pitches) to face Casper Wells, 12 for 80 going into today’s game with his third major-league team of the year. Leaving Rodriguez in the game or going straight to Kenley Jansen, when you knew you needed to pitch shutout ball, were obvious options.

As for the fact that the Dodgers lost without using Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford or A.J. Ellis, well, either you believe in resting position players or you don’t. If you do, well, you assume that the long-term benefit of the full day off outweighs the short-term impact they could have had on this particular game. (Plus, the subs for Gonzalez and Crawford went a combined 4 for 8, though perhaps Gonzalez would have fielded the bouncing throw from Ramirez that Jerry Hairston Jr. missed).

If you don’t believe in player rest, well, there’s always tomorrow.


Pair of pitchers will test Dodgers’ winning ways


Yasiel Puig does not need to be benched


  1. Bob_in_Vegas

    AZ wins.
    Silver Lining: stay tied with Pirates.

  2. ASW1

    Missed the game and was shocked, SHOCKED, I tell ya, when I got home and found out the Dodgers lost today. Well, not really, but it sure feels good to be able to take a loss so lightly. 17 series in a row without losing one will do that. 3 out of 4 in Miami would be very nice.

  3. Spence

    Withrow, JP Howell, and Kenley also did not pitch the day before. So of the 4 guys presumably available in the pin, Donnie chose the worst pitcher of all them in a sudden death situation. Bad call.

    • WBBsAs

      Mármol may be worse than League, but I would prefer not to have to choose between them.

  4. Bumsrap

    I am glad the errors were made by a star and not by Gordon.

  5. Mattingly doesn’t have the luxury of just never pitching League again. The guy’s under contract for 2+ more years, and unless the front office agrees to write him off Mattingly has to see whether League can be useful and recover some of his skills. So he puts him in games. League hardly deserves blame for this loss; it’s on Ramirez’s two errors far more than on the pitcher. I’d rather League get used during the season and should the Dodgers make the post-season he can sit as an unreliable reliever than go into a serious game cold after not pitching for a month.

    • WBBsAs

      He’s nothing more than a mopup guy, just like Mármol and that exhibitionist that Ned signed.

      • btimmer

        Unfortunately, bad relief pitchers just can’t be taken out behind the barn and shot every time they lose a game.

        I checked. The Basic Agreement prohibits it!

        Relievers sometimes don’t pitch well. It happens! Some are good. Some are bad. Some are OK.

        Complaining about the use of Brandon League today should be described as #firstplaceproblems

        • ASW1

          “Relievers sometimes don’t pitch well.”
          True, and infielders sometimes don’t field well.
          League induced ground balls – his SS let him down – and it’s League’s and Mattingly’s fault?

          • mike_tink

            No one that I see said it was League’s fault; they said he wasn’t the best choice to come into that game at that time to face RHH’s. It was Mattingly’s fault that he did not make the best choice.

          • ASW1

            Ah, OK, I get what you’re saying – if Mattingly had instead brought in Paco, or Withrow, or Jansen, and one of THEM had induced a potential double-play grounder to short, and Hanley booted it, and the Dodgers lost, then Mattingly would have made the right choice. Makes sense.

        • Agreed. Additionally, Mattingly has to find out how or whether he can rely on all the pitchers on the staff, including relief guys that the fans think stink. Remember Danny Baez? Remember Lance Carter?

          • You guys realized League also pitched Saturday, right? It’s not like he’s gone unused.

          • Spence

            If Mattingly wants to find who the best pitcher is between Marmol, Brian Wilson, and Brandon League for the last relief spot on the playoff roster, then let that be done in mop up games or when the rest of the good relievers have been used in a game or are tired. Pitching League in that spot made no sense at all today when better relievers were available. I just dont know what Mattingly might be searching for in League. League is what he is. He’s a pitch to contact reliever and guys like that dont belong on playoff rosters.

          • mike_tink

            I truly do not understand your point in mentioning Baez and Carter. Carter, iirc, agreed to go to AAA and never played in MLB again, Baez was used in 45 games before being traded to Atlanta. One was given up on quickly the other used extensively because Colletti had majorly overpaid for the pair.

          • 45 games wasn’t what I’d call “given up on quickly.” That was my point. Carter I’d forgotten didn’t pitch for the big club.

          • mike_tink

            you have it backwards. Carter pitched in 10 games for the Dodgers so he was the one who was given up on quickly; Baez was in 45 games in half a season he was used extensively even though he was pitching poorly.
            I still don’t know why you mentioned them as I realize you don’t think League should be used extensively because he has a big contract with 2 seasons to go after this one.

          • Mike, you baffle me. You say to me “I realize you don’t think League should be used extensively because he has a big contract with 2 seasons to go after this one” when I have said exactly the opposite: that you can’t just throw him off the team without a big writeoff, so you need to find out when and where you can use him, thus you need to put him in game situations of all different varieties.

            You’re fussing about Baez and Carter to the point where I’m sorry I mentioned them. All I was trying to say was that Baez was never very good for the Dodgers and yet he kept getting run out onto the mound despite the fans’ complaints, just as League is.

            I do think League has come off his low point earlier in the season.

          • WBBsAs

            League and Báez would seem to be pretty good comparables.

        • WBBsAs

          Mattingly did, however, have a better alternative in Withrow (who probably gets sent to ABQ if they activate the exhibitionist).

          • BenjaminMiracord

            Objection. “Exhibitionist” can easily imply sexual deviate. If you
            have the need to continuously assault the man verbally, please use
            another term. Children and newcomers to this board should not be
            confronted with and confused by vague and incorrect insinuations that Wilson may be or may have been a pervert or lawbreaker.
            That’s just unfair. Thanks.

          • WBBsAs

            I use it in the sense of “the act or practice of deliberately behaving so as to attract attention to oneself,” with no allusion to

    • mike_tink

      I don’t disagree strongly with the above but on the other hand the way the team has been playing Mattingly does, in fact, have the luxury of never pitching League (at least in close games).
      Normally, Mattingly would have brought in Withrow to pitch to Casper Wells. Withrow threw 37 pitches on Wednesday so it seems like he should have been available. Perhaps this is far fetched but I am thinking that Mattingly might have felt it important to see League in the game because he knows Withrow will be optioned to make room for Wilson leaving the bull-pen with 3 questionable members League, Marmol, and Wilson. Withrow, I believe, never warmed up at all. BAA vs RHH Withrow 122, League 255.

    • Spence

      The Dodgers play in monopoly money. They can just DFA League very easily and next year its not a certainty that he will be one of the best relievers on the pen especially if they like what they see out of Dominguez.

  6. WinnipegDave

    I wish I had been around about 4 hours ago to pull out the old Gameday must be broken routine (Gameday must be broken – it says the Dodgers lost).

    Time to start a new streak tomorrow.

  7. dalegribel

    Interesting perspective from Fox. There’s some truth, but there a layer of benefit vs. cost that goes overlooked.

    • Spence

      Alot of Puig’s game is aggression and you take the good with the bad. To me, he has the green light to make every throw he wants at the expense of other runners moving up a base. Thats just the chances you take. As far as the baserunning, I’d just tell him when he gets on base to not be looking to steal or tag up so often. But again, you still have to take the good with the bad. If he was playing cautiously, he would have never made it to 2nd base on that dribbler up the middle in the 9th inning earlier in the week.

      • mike_tink

        I presume when they go over the opposing team he was told that Utley is a good base-runner. It is the cut-off man’s decision which he can not make if the ball is over his reach. You have to hit the cut-off man unless you are sure the base-runner will be out.

      • WBBsAs

        What some might call poor judgment can turn out to be audaciousness rewarded, and I would hate to see that taken away from him. I would like to see him more cautious about running into walls and, especially, other players.

    • It’s nonsense. Any time you focus on one aspect of a player’s performance and ignore the others you’re gonna draw the wrong conclusions. Every player has weaknesses – I’d rather a player have weaknesses that are easily correctable over time, as Puig has, than be the fundamentally sound player with a .680 OPS.

      Sure, Puig could cost the Dodgers a playoff game. So could every other player on the team. Look at what happened today.

      We just went through this with Kemp. It’s the same-old, same old.

  8. btimmer

    The best reply to Morosi’s Puig column is to think back to October 2, 2012. It’s the next to last day of the season. The Dodgers need a win to have a chance at the second wild card. They trail the Giants 4-1 in the 7th. Andre Ethier is hit by a pitch. Guillermo Mota relieves Barry Zito and gives up a 2-run homer to AJ Ellis. Dodger Stadium is rocking.

    Pinch hitter Nick Punto fans.

    Savvy veteran Mark Ellis bats. He hits a drive up the LF gap. Ellis easily has a double. BUT NO! Ellis goes for third.

    He is out.

    By a lot.

    Shane Victorino follows with a triple, but is stranded after Matt Kemp strikes out against George Kontos.

    The Giants hold on for a 4-3 win.

    • Bob_Hendley

      I blame Mota.

    • SaMoDodger

      You can’t teach that kind of proven veteran stupidity.

      Stupid Kemp. Doesn’t he know he’s not supposed to strike out in that situation?

  9. SaMoDodger

    I’m no fan of League, but he did his job: he got two easy grounders to shortstop, neither of which Hanley handled. The second one was even a tailor-made double-play ball, exactly what the doctor ordered to get out of the inning.

    I’ve got no problem with Mattingly using League in that situation. He hasn’t been great, but he’s been ok, and the Phillies have been terrible. You definitely don’t want to use your closer in a tie game on the road–who would you then use if you got the lead?

    I think the greater worry for Mattingly right now is overusing Paco, Kenley, and Belisario. Sure, they lost, but for the first time in 11 games. Four games against the Marlins should remedy any lingering problems.

    • ” You definitely don’t want to use your closer in a tie game on the road–who would you then use if you got the lead?”

      Were you asking this question seriously?

      If you have the lead, you can give up a run and still win. If you don’t have the lead, you can’t give up a run and still win. So when do you think you should use your best pitcher?

      If it’s a rest issue for Kenley, that’s one thing. But if you’re planning to use him at some point in the game, the best practice would be to use him while it’s still tied. That’s the highest-pressure situation.

      • SaMoDodger

        I have to agree with the conventional wisdom here, which says save your closer until you get a lead for him to protect.

        At home, it’s the opposite. No save opportunity, so no reason to save your closer. Then you use your bullpen backwards, with the best pitchers throwing first.

        • “I have to agree with the conventional wisdom here, which says save your closer until you get a lead for him to protect.”


          • SaMoDodger

            I see your point–use your best players first. But if you do get the lead in the top half of the following inning, then there’s a strong temptation to use your closer for a second inning. Which gets back to your point about resting your closer.

            Perhaps the conventional wisdom shouldn’t be so conventional. But you know how hard it is to get managers to do anything that isn’t by the book. Unless they’re geniuses like Tony LaRussa.

  10. I see that all us non-Southern California fans are out of luck for television viewing for the next four days. KCAL only, apparently.

    I can’t even grouse about MLB’s blackout rules in this instance, can I? ;)

    • dalegribel


      • RBI

        Triple argh!!!

        What a time to be greedy jerks.

        Any suggestions, since rabbit ears may not work in the canyon where I live?

        • ASW1

          DirecTV – they constantly run “sign-up specials”

          • KT

            Actually just got off the phone with Directv and AT&T and lowered my bill by over $100.00 and I been with them for years

          • ASW1

            Been with DirecTV for @ 14 years and am currently paying $72.00 a month for 2 HD recievers and more channels than I could ever watch – kids get all their channels – no complaints with the service. Plus they just upgraded the scorecard interactive feature where you can pull up boxscores of all MLB games while they are going on and for 3 days after they are over.

          • RBI

            Definitely looking into it. Gave up DISH over the last cable-show Madmen haggle. Now this. Unfortunately we have TW for our internet stuff, but this is sounding like the best alternative.

          • btimmer

            If you cannot haggle with DirecTV to get your bill lowered, you cannot haggle with anyone. They give in very easily. The last time I called them (about 3 weeks ago) I said, “My bill went up, can you lower it?” “Yes.”

            That was about all it took.

            And I can’t haggle with anyone. And I’m the kind of person who would eat a raw piece of meat in a restaurant rather than sending it back and asking for what I ordered: a piece of salmon.

          • RBI


        • SaMoDodger

          Directv is fantastic.

    • btimmer

      People who get cable from Time-Warner won’t be able to see the games either. That does not include me.

      I am getting to the point though that I may have to go buy a digital converter antenna for my father-in-law.

      However, I am guessing that the imminent start of the NFL season will force Time-Warner and CBS to settle.

      But I am not an expert.

      • I heard off the record from someone that while the NFL season start seems like the key moment in the dispute, don’t count on a settlement then. Heels are dug in very deep. Take that for what you will.

        • btimmer

          Sounds like I need to go to Radio Shack for my father-in-law.

    • KT

      Fox Sports FL is showing all 4 games

  11. KT

    Dodgers lineup:

    Crawford LF
    Puig RF
    Gonzalez 1B
    Ramirez SS
    Ethier CF
    AJ Ellis C
    Uribe 3B
    M. Ellis 2B
    Ryu P

    • Bob_Hendley

      Really looking forward to the match up with Fernandez. Haven’t had a chance to see him.

      • KT

        I’ve only seen glimpses

        • btimmer

          He pitched at Dodger Stadium earlier this year. The Dodgers didn’t fare well against him. But it was also the May version of the team.

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      Thanks, KT! I have to admit, that even when Las Vegas had the “baby Dodgers,” I didn’t attend as much as I should have. But I like to get out to our park at least once a year, especially if there’s a chance to see a rehabbing Blue.

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