Don Mattingly’s Obsession Should Be Last Resort


The Dodgers are mulling their options about who will replace the injured Hyun-jin Ryu in their vaunted starting rotation. The Dodgers received good news on the left hander’s sore shoulder. There was no structural damage. Ryu will rest for two weeks, and then be reevaluated at that time. His timetable for return is unknown, but it would be fair to assume he may miss about three weeks to a month.

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That leaves the Dodgers with a gaping hole in their starting rotation. Manager Don Mattingly has been discussing all options with the Dodger’s brain trust. The Dodgers picked up a bevy of backend spot starter options this winter. It would seem the likely internal candidates would be guys like Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger, Joe Wieland, and rookie Zach Lee. Left hander Erik Bedard is no longer an option after he strained his teres major muscle .

The Dodgers won’t need a fifth starter until April 14 at the earliest. The spot will only come up three more times in the month of April. Considering that, there is no reason the Dodgers can’t give Joe Wieland, or Lee a spot start. Unfortunately Mattingly was quoted last week stating that he is leaning towards falling back on an old sick obsession of his….a bullpen game.

In case some of you don’t know what a bullpen game is, let me explain for a minute. A bullpen game is when the entire bullpen pitches, and the club does not use a normal starting pitcher. That means a long man would open the game, and generally pitch the first two or three innings. After that, the rest of the bullpen would be forced to be burned throughout the game.

The Dodgers are having a bullpen game this afternoon against San Diego, and must have several more for the rest of spring in order to sort through the hodge podge of relievers remaining in camp. That’s fine, but it should never be done in a regular season game. This is something that should only be done unless there is an emergency. By doing this Mattingly has said that he is thinking about carrying an extra position player, instead of an extra reliever.

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  • This tells me two things.

    1. Don Mattingly has a very sick twisted obsession with doing a “bullpen game”. Much in the same manner that former manager Joe Torre had his weird obsession with the overuse of right hander Ramon Troncoso, and other relievers. That was commonly referred to as “the Joe Torre syndrome”, or “the Joe Torre disease”. The act of overusing a specific reliever, or set of relievers until their arms fall off, or become unusable.

    Mattingly’s odd obsession is burning through his entire bullpen from start to finish of a game. he just can’t resist. If you remember last season, he finally got to realize that dream when Jamey Wright opened a game in Colorado on my birthday. It seemed to work, as the Dodgers won but it wasn’t pretty. Carlos Frias followed Wright in that game, and the offense bailed the Dodgers out with an 8-5 win. Mattingly must have been drooling in the dugout.

    1. What this also tells me is that the Dodgers and specifically Don Mattingly have very little to no confidence in any of the starting depth options they have now. That includes the internal candidates like Carlos Frias, Zach Lee, and the guys they picked up last winter, like Joe Wieland, and Juan Nicasio.

    There ought to be no reason the Dodgers shouldn’t give Wieland, Bolsinger, or Zach Lee a start or two. Even though between Frias, Lee, Wieland, and Bolsinger have only combined for 19 total major league starts. If Mattingly really wants to do a bullpen game, that’s fine. It will just be super annoying to watch the entire bullpen burned up in one game. To me a bullpen game just points to a lack of confidence in the club’s current depth.