Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wright's role was all wrong

To start off with, the Dodgers' offense scored two runs in 12 innings, which were a couple of solo shots from Scott Van Slyke and Juan Uribe.  So when they eventually lost 4-2 to the Diamondbacks, five hits and two runs in over four hours of baseball is usually not going to win many games.

With that said, I was surprised to see how Jamey Wright and Chris Perez were used.  More specifically, the long guy went too short, and the short guy went too long.

With the Dodgers down 1-0 in the seventh, Wright came on and only gave up a single.  The strange thing was that his spot in the order was due up fourth, and sure enough, he ended up getting pinch-hit for by Chone Figgins after Van Slyke's homer tied the game up.  Sure enough, Figgins grounded out, which was pretty much an automatic.

Don Mattingly used both Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen the day before in San Francisco, so it's understandable that they were being avoided.  That's fine, but it also meant that when Wright, Chris Withrow, and even Brandon League were already used, it came down to Perez and J.P. Howell to pitch in extras.  Perez plowed through the 11 unscathed.

But hold on, the game was still tied, so back out went Perez.  The first two guys got on, and following a sacrifice, a two-run single by Aaron Hill effectively ended the game.  Perez gave up his first runs of the season, and threw the most pitches at 26.

So that brings me back to my original point.  Shouldn't Perez pitch the seventh, and Wright be saved in case of extra innings?  Especially since Wilson and Jansen probably weren't going to pitch?  It just didn't seem to make much sense to me.  I would think Perez would be much more comfortable pitching closer to the ninth, and not afterwards.

It's not like Wright needs to only be used for extended innings, but of his nine appearances this season, only two have gone more than one inning.  Friday night was the perfect chance to give the ball to him in extra innings and let him go.  Instead, Perez was put out there longer than usual, and the Dodgers paid the price.  And Howell wasn't even used at all.  Just some weird stuff.

Of course, if the offense could do anything then probably none of this would have mattered.

Other thoughts from the game:

* Yasiel Puig was back at leadoff, took three walks, but struck out the three other times.  Right now opposing pitchers are blowing it by him up in the zone.  There's just way too many swings and misses right now, and he needs to adjust in those situations.  I'm guessing he's not the easiest guy to get to adjust, though.

* Justin Turner hit second and went 0-for-5, dropping him to .185.  Yuck.  If I'm Alex Guerrero, I'm taking grounders at second until my hands go numb so my bat is back in the LA lineup.  If I'm Turner, I'm nervous about that happening.

* Zack Greinke only gave up one run in six innings, which was a fortunate thing considering his location was all over the place.  Still, he struck out eight and lowered his ERA to 2.42.  He's fifth in the NL in strikeouts.

Dan Haren and his sparkling 2.04 ERA will take the mound on Saturday night.  He'll look to get the Dodgers back on track after dropping their first game to the Diamondbacks following five straight wins.


Stealing Home said...

I agree with you, AD. You're not the only guy questioning Mattingly's strategy this morning.
I'm not sure if you know my blog, but I invite you to stop by and check out what I have to say from the perspective of how he handled the Dodger bats last night.

Aaron Dodger said...

Totally agree with your other points about yanking Van Slyke and not yanking Turner. The game was so long on Friday I forgot about some of that stuff. Cool blog!

By the way, I give you credit where it's due in my last update!