Mattingly Does Not Learn – Can He Still Blow It All?

Last night, the Dodgers returned from the Friendly Confines for the regular season’s final home stand, with three games against the Giants followed by three with the Rockies to close the season. Wins in the first two games would have given the Dodgers the National League West Division tile, allowing the walking wounded to rest a few days and letting the empty uniform non-manager Don Mattingly adjust his very short starting staff for the beginning of the postseason.

To open the series, the Dodgers seemed to have a fighting chance in game one, with Dan Haren facing the also inconsistent but recently sharp Jake Peavy. Despite the Giants getting off to a 2-0 lead, the Dodgers came back to tie the game, and it stood at 2-2

through 12 innings. The deep Dodgers' bullpen held the Giant off inning after inning, following Haren's seven inning, one-hit performance. But, there it was, 2-2 going into the 13th, and what did Mattingly do?

Granted, Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell, and the rest of the front line of the bullpen had already seen action, but Chris Perez, Pedro Baez, Paco Rodriguez, Carlos
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Frias, and Yumi Garcia had not, so Mattingly had several options. So, what did he do? Amazingly, he brought in the Dodgers’ answer to Edwin Jackson, the one “major league” pitcher there is who could challenge Jackson’s title for the Worst Pitcher in baseball. In fact, I might have to re-assess that, and transfer the title to,…… Kevin Correia.

Before last night, the Dodgers had lost the last six games in which Correia had appeared (most of them Correia starts) and in that span, he had allowed 20 runs in 12-2/3 innings pitched. For the month of September, his ERA was 8.00. Since being acquired last month from Minnesota, the Dodgers’ share of his $5.5 Million dollar contract had gotten them a 2-3 record and and ERA of 7.23.

So, was it a surprise to ANYONE not names Mattingly when Correia gave up three runs in that 13th inning, and that the winning run was scored on a pinch-hi single by Andrew

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Susac, and was his 19th career RBI? The three run inning raised Correia's ERA as a Dodger to 8.03, but odds are, Mattingly will continue to use him.

If the Dodgers are to win the division without going down to the wire, they need a win tonight against the Giants, and while they have their number two guy, Zack Greinke, going tonight, they will be facing the Giants' ace, Madison
Bumgarner, who in addition to looking for his 19th win of the season, will also be going after his seventh straight win. Bumgarner, with 11, and in only his fifth season, is second among active pitchers in lifetime wins against the Dodgers. And as if San Francisco needed yet another incentive tonight, a Giants’ win and a Milwaukee loss would put the Giants in the post season.

There was no excuse for Correia again being used at all, let alone in a key spot in a tie game. Will Mattingly ever learn, and can he and the Dodgers still blow the division title, and perhaps more?

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