Chris Anders was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. In 2002 he moved to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University. After graduating with a degree in Recording Arts, Chris joined Fox Sports Radio’s editing department. He worked his way to the title of Senior Editor and shortly thereafter joined the imaging department of Fox Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
Being a Southern California native, Chris developed a love for the Lakers and Dodgers at an early age and has carried that passion with him throughout his life. When not working, watching sports, or tinkering with his fantasy teams, you can usually find Chris hanging out with his Boston Terrier, playing music, and writing "Bio's" about himself in the 3rd person.
The Dodgers were just knocked out of playoff contention by the Giants. Like just now, a few minutes ago as I write this. Maybe I shouldn’t write while angry, but screw it, the way Don Mattingly managed the bottom of the 9th inning in tonight’s game is so inexcusable that it must have a light shone upon it.
It’s true that this game, number 161 of 162 on the season, wasn’t to clinch a playoff spot; it was to stay alive in the hopes that you could force a one game playoff to get to the one game Wild Card playoff. This was to keep the small glimmer of hope alive.
There were many mistakes to point to in this game, Mark Ellis stupidly getting thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple and Matt Kemp failing to come through with runners on in the bottom of the 7th being the most glaring among them. You know what though, players make mistakes, players don’t come through all the time, that’s baseball. It happens in every single game. What is unacceptable were the decisions made by Dodgers’ Manager Don Mattingly.
Without further ado, I give you analysis (with help from Twitter) of the play by play of the last meaningful half inning of Dodgers baseball in 2012 . Proceed with caution, because it gets ugly.
Jeremy Affeldt relieved Santiago Casilla
An expected move by Giants’ Manager Bruce Bochy, bring in the lefty (Affeldt) to face Andre Ethier, a guy who is hitting .216 against lefties this year.
Andre Ethier singled to center
Hey! How bout them apples! Andre Ethier with a huge hit to lead of the inning against a lefty. I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. A lead off runner is exactly what the Dodgers need, get him home and the game is all tied up.
Sergio Romo relieved Jeremy Affeldt
Sergio Romo has a giant stupid beard like his predecessor Brian Wilson (my thoughts on him here), but like Wilson he’s also a pretty good right-handed pitcher. His fastball is not great but he has an outstanding slider. Romo is good, but with the right moves the Dodgers may be able to get the tying run in, after all, it’s already on base.
Now would be the perfect time to bring Dee Gordon off the bench to pinch run. Of course you don’t want to take Ethier out, but it’s do or die, now or never, you have to score a run or else your playoff chances are finished. Why not bring in one of the fastest guys in baseball to run? Maybe he can steal a base and get you a runner in scoring position with no outs. At the very least he provides the threat of a stolen base and elite speed should a ball be put into play.
Great job, Andre. Now, if Dee Gordon exists for any situation, it's this one. Right?— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 3, 2012
Don Mattingly decides not to pinch run Dee Gordon for Andre Ethier. Of course. Why would you want your fastest player on first representing the tying run with nobody out in an inning where you absolutely must score a run? It makes TOO much sense.
AJ Ellis is next up for the Dodgers, a guy who earlier in the game blasted a two run HR to bring the Dodgers within one. The same guy that owns a .372 on base percentage and is one of the Dodgers’ most consistently patient hitters. A guy with AJ Ellis’ plate discipline is exactly who you would want at bat with Dee Gordon trying to steal second. He would see plenty of pitches and give Gordon ample opportunity to find a good pitch to run on. Of course Gordon is not on first, Andre Ethier is, so the point is moot.
Don Mattingly instructs AJ Ellis to bunt.
The Dodgers have three outs remaining to try and get one run across, so the manager, the decision maker, the guy who orchestrates everything, decides to give one of those outs away. This is not smart baseball.
STOP BUNTING!!!! #Dodgers— Felix Gonzalez (@Felixthecat15) October 3, 2012
AJ Ellis falls behind 0-2 while trying to get a bunt down (the 2nd strike was questionable, but I’ll save the umpire bashing for another time, let’s focus on Mattingly). Of course he’s not going to bunt with the count 0-2, so what happens next you ask?
AJ Ellis struck out swinging
Of course he did. Even the best hitters will have a hard time digging out of a 0-2 hole.
Way to make AJ fall behind 0-2, Donnie. You're the best.— jonahkeri (@jonahkeri) October 3, 2012
One out, runner still on first, your move Don.
Dee Gordon ran for Andre Ethier
Now Mattingly decides to pinch run Dee Gordon for Andre Ethier!?
Was Dee Gordon not allowed to pinch-run and try to steal before one pointless out was made? Sorry, I'm new to baseball.— jonahkeri (@jonahkeri) October 3, 2012
Why didn’t this happen earlier? What was the hold up? My guess is he wanted to get Ethier over to second so he wouldn’t have to pull him from the game in case of extra innings, but regardless of the reason, it’s inexcusable. The manager’s job is to put his team in the best possible position to win and leaving Ethier on first base with your fastest runner sitting on the bench does not do that.
Why is Dee Gordon coming in now to run? Should of come in last batter. Now season is in hands of Bobby Abreu, a guy sent to AAA most of year— Tim Cates (@timcates) October 3, 2012
Bobby Abreu hit for Elian Herrera
Whatever, they’re both pretty mediocre. Mattingly just chose the mediocre veteran (read: old guy) instead of the mediocre young guy.
Bobby Abreu flied out to left
Not an unforeseeable outcome, to say the least.
Now there are two outs and that lead off runner is still at first base. The Dodgers season is on the ropes. If the pinch runner was brought in to begin with, and had AJ Ellis not been forced to bunt, things could be very different.
Dee Gordon stole second
Of course he does. Now Dee Gordon is at second with two outs instead of no outs. Why did Mattingly not bring him in as soon as Ethier singled to lead off the inning? It boggles the mind.
A base hit now ties the game, but unfortunately there is no room for error. One more out ends the Dodgers’ season.
Mark Ellis lined out to center
It’s a long season and there are many reasons that the Dodgers will be watching the playoffs from home, but when the season was at it’s most perilous Don Mattingly came up small.
Congratulations to Don Mattingly, St. Louis Cardinals 2012 MVP.— jonahkeri (@jonahkeri) October 3, 2012
Next year the Dodgers will have a full season with their revamped lineup and fans have ample reason to be excited about what awaits them. But if this is how Mattingly will continue to manage the team, any excitement should be tempered with great concern.