Dodgers manager Don Mattingly questions pitching move
Thirteen games into his first season as a manager, and Don Mattingly is already being second-guessed -- by Don Mattingly?
After Hiroki Kuroda was knocked around Thursday for six runs on 10 hits in just five innings, and threw a career-high three wild pitches, Mattingly was questioning his decision to allow him to try to throw a complete game in his previous start in San Diego.
In that game, Kuroda threw 8 2/3 innings and a career-high 117 pitches. And since Kuroda clearly wasn’t sharp Thursday, Mattingly was somewhat sorry he had allowed Kuroda to stretch himself so far in just his second start.
"A little bit," Mattingly said. "I questioned it at the time. He’d had the extra day's rest. Honey [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] knows those guys a lot better than I do. He felt like he deserved the opportunity.
"You don’t know if that’s what happened last night. I could have taken him out and it still happened. You don’t really know.
"But I think with him, we always like to give him extra rest when we can. I did question myself on that a little bit."
It had been six days since Kuroda last pitched before facing the Padres. Mattingly said Kuroda historically pitches better with an extra day's rest.
Managers typically rely on their pitching coaches, but as a new manager whose background is as a first baseman and hitting coach, Mattingly’s honest admission was somewhat surprising.
No manager wants to be viewed as only in charge of the position players.
"Definitely I’m going to listen to his input," Mattingly said. "He’s been around these guys. It’s his third year. I’m paying attention to the hitters, and for the most part not really paying attention to the smaller details on what’s going on with pitchers.
"So I’m going to trust what he does and what he says about guys. Obviously I’m the one who’s going to make the final decision on those kind of calls, and I take responsibility for that. But I’m definitely going to weigh in with him on the decisions."
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Manager Don Mattingly during the season opener against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Reuters