D’Backs 2, Dodgers 1: Bunted to Death

uribe_2013-09-16First, the good news: Hyun-jin Ryu was outstanding, really, pitching a complete game two-hitter, even though he’ll take the loss here. At one point, Ryu retired 19 consecutive Diamondbacks, and the only real mistake he made was allowing a first-inning Paul Goldschmidt homer, and how can we really harp on that? Goldschmidt always kills the Dodgers.

(Hold on, I’m getting to it.)

The Dodgers, unfortunately, couldn’t take advantage, as their tattered lineup managed only four hits themselves — half by Nick Punto, believe it or not — off Trevor Cahill and the Arizona bullpen. Since Cahill walked four, that means the Dodgers left eight men on base, with a particular sore spot being the top of the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with none out and scored only a lone run on a Yasiel Puig walk.

(It’s coming, don’t worry.)

The inability to make things happen showed up again in the eighth, when pinch-runner Dee Gordon was desperate to steal second, but could never get it to happen as Adrian Gonzalez kept fouling off pitches, eventually flying out on a clear ball four. Gonzalez really just had a brutal game, and when we look back on why the Dodgers couldn’t capitalize on Ryu’s gem, the continued struggles of the offense (in addition to a still-injured roster missing Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, & Andre Ethier) is why.

So all that out of the way….

What the hell, Don Mattingly? I mean… what the hell. I generally try to defend the manager, because we’ve been over so many times how a manager really has so much less influence on the outcome of a game than people think. He wasn’t an awful manager was the team was in last place in May; he wasn’t suddenly a great one when the team was historically hot in July and August.

So while I try to keep that in mind, remain rational, and know that there’s so many other reasons why the team lost tonight… it’s really, truly difficult to look at that ninth inning as anything but a gift to the opposition. Michael Young hit for the struggling A.J. Ellis and singled, then moved to second when Skip Schumaker singled just past the shortstop.

At this point, things are lined up wonderfully because Juan Uribe is walking to the plate, and while Uribe was 0-3 tonight at that point, he’s actually been phenomenal lately. Over the last 30 days, he’s been a better hitter than Puig, believe it or not.

stop_bunting_kennyAnd Mattingly has him bunt. Of course. Because of course.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this, because it’s Mattingly, and that’s the unforgivable sin he always, always falls into. The thing is, there’s actually a somewhat-okay argument to be made for the bunt in that situation, because if you move the man on second to third with one out, you can score on a sac fly, without needing a hit. I certainly wouldn’t have done it, but it’s not the worst strategy in the world.

Except, it is the worst strategy in the world when you are A) taking the bat out of the hands of one of your hottest hitters B) asking Uribe to do something he’s done four times successfully in the last four seasons and C) doing so to pass the bat to Chili Buss, who shouldn’t even be in the big leagues.

Uribe, after showing bunt and taking, then bunting foul, got the ball down… right to pitcher Brad Ziegler, who nailed Young at third, and that’s the problem with this whole thing. Even if it works perfectly, it’s still barely worth the effort… but you can’t guarantee it’s even going to work. That left it up to Buss to ground out, pushing the runners to second and third with two outs, and Mattingly sent Kemp up to the plate.

Kemp stuck out, he looked bad doing it, and the cavemen on Twitter are just killing him over it, much moreso than they are Mattingly. It’s his first game in nearly two months, and to put him in that spot… well, I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised that he was wildly overeager, swinging at the first pitch and a strike three that was far off the plate.

If the job of the manager is to put his players into the best situations to win, that ninth inning was a clinic on how not to do that. You don’t ask Uribe to bunt there. You don’t let Buss hit there. You probably do send Kemp up, I suppose, but you can’t be surprised at what happened. Like I said, there’s plenty of other reasons why the Dodgers dropped another game, far beyond anything that Kemp or Mattingly had control over. But when you look back on this one, that’s what you’re going to remember… and there’s not a lot I can say to refute it, at least as far as Mattingly goes. That one hurts. Just awful.

 

 

281 comments
Noel D
Noel D

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valdez310
valdez310

Mike, you are way too nice on Dummie Baseball! There is never a good case to be made for taking the bat out of your best hitter! Right now, especially in that line up...Uribe is the one swinging the best bat.  Let the gorilla swing for the fences! Even if he hits into the dp, brink Matt up and hope he hits it out.  At least lose giving it your best shot and going for it. 

moneynow27
moneynow27

The other bad move by Mattingly was batting the struggling A.J. Ellis 5th.  They pitched around Puig twice, and walked him, so they could pitch to A.J.  Granted with Hanley out, there were few options, but still.

Dang88
Dang88

You guyz complain too much, I was surprised Uribe didn't bunt into a DP

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

Yesterday I posted that at least you-know-who isn't starting in this series.  Unfortunately, now neither is Kershaw.  With Clayton's start pushed back, Stephen Fife will start tomorrow.  And unfortunately, the Fife 2.0 since he was sent back to ABQ is not at all like the Fife 1.0 we saw earlier in the season.  :(

nsxtasy
nsxtasy

Kemp stuck out!  That guy always sticks out.  And looks bad doing it.  :)

Lobo
Lobo

Oh man, I just went through Amy's twitter TL from last night. She was PISSED at those people for ragging on Kemp

adicom
adicom

That's why you don't bunt in that situation. Horrible decision. Practicing losing as we are, injuries or not, is a bad way to enter October.  

Giants Suck
Giants Suck

Did you notice kemp's new batting stance?

nauuds3000
nauuds3000

Yea, me and 3 friends were screaming at the TV when Uribe bunted... fucking terrible

TaintsnifferMcGillicutty
TaintsnifferMcGillicutty

Man IDK about those people who take losing way too seriously..............yah it sucks but don't have a heart attack

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

I hope you guys understand what I mean though about Matt Kemp I really

Hope he doesn't become our version of Carl Crawford. I don't have a twitter but you guys make it sound horrible out there. You Guys might say oh Matt kemp won't get to Crawford level but imagine if he strains his hamstring next spring training. You feel me?

DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

I feel like you all here, including the sleeping giant Mike, are like a warm blanket. Assuring me that there are some baseball fans that actually watch the game. It's comforting

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

I went off and talked shit to everybody who is associated with the mutt kimp accounts

valdez310
valdez310

@moneynow27 I agree! Unless your name is Bench, Piazza, Rodriguez or Posey...catchers need to hit 8th! Especially, non-hitting ones' like Ellis.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Historically there is very little correlation between September record and October record.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Yeah, but I don't know enough about hitting to know if it's a good thing or a bad thing.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

I am okay with this.

P_F_P
P_F_P

@DavidBecerra Even I've stopped pouting for the night. (Because I'm going to bed, but still.)

Tired Math Cat
Tired Math Cat

Hey, at least you're not a slut, because defending Matt Kemp and being a girl means you're a slut.

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

Who do you think mutt kimp is... giants fans? Dbacks fans? Dodger fans who hate Matt kemp? Or just dodger haters?

adicom
adicom

@DBrim There will be for The Dodgers if Matt Kemp is stale, Ethier, Crawford, and Hanley are hurt, and we OVERUSE Paco, Belly (a quote from Mattingly) and the rest of our bullpen.

Dang88
Dang88

@DBrim worked for Loney.........seriously it's like Loney's stance but from the left side.

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

That's such a stupid comeback. "Hey, fuck your mom she's a slut"

"Ha fuck you bro you use too many commas

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

Lol wow this guy is a fucking buffoon. Too many commas? Hopefully he doesn't have to write any essays anytime soon

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

Yeah but imagine if Matt kemp had another injury how pathetic would all the uneducated fans be? They would all probably start booing Everytime he went up to bat

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

Sorry to hear that space cat. Im sure you are a pleasant young woman. Just remember when it comes tothe Internet people lack class and humility. at least you have us we will never be mean to ya

adicom
adicom

@Capnsparrow @adicom @Mike Petriello @DBrim Not really. The odds after giving up an out there say is was a bad move no matter what. We can go into Uribe being better then Puig over the past month, or 4 HR's in the last 7 games. Even if it worked the process was bad. Besides who was available to hit? Not much other then Kemp. Mattingly just does what he is "supposed" to do by the 1970 MLB mangers guide......

adicom
adicom

@Mike Petriello @adicom @DBrim True. I am frustrated by the last two weeks. I guess because I am old, and missed going to the last WS, I just want to win. I should not panic. But as a Dodger talk caller asked the other day, "Can Mattingly mange us to a championship" He can certainly do a lot to lose one, that is for sure. Of course the players have to perform for us to win, but bunting in that situation is not a smart managerial move. 

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

Exactly, that's kinda what I mean. To where all this twitter shit and booing just gets to him. I mean people act like he's NOT TRYING TO PLAY.

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

For a long time Puig technically replaced kemp because Ethier and Crawford were the other two outfielders. ... Lol.

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

You're right that tweet is pathetic. Lol. It literally makes no sense at all

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

Lol SoCal JC sounds so funny

They probably go to santa Monica city college

Chavez Ravine Fiend
Chavez Ravine Fiend

I never understood the concept of hating on one of your star players. But it's funny how when guys like Ramirez leave Miami fans who bashed him and then he does well for the dodgers. I just hope we never get to that point with kemp to where he's such a villain we are force to trade him 25 cents on the dollar because his value is so low.