Dodgers-Giants de­ci­sion bizarre

mat­tingly’s visit(s) to mound lead to rules dis­cus­sion

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES — Later, there was still wide­spread con­fu­sion. If any­thing, there was more con­fu­sion.

What ex­actly hap­pened in the ninth in­ning of the Los An­ge­les Dodgers’ loss to the San Fran­cisco Giants on Tues­day night? More to the point, what should have hap­pened?

In case you missed it, here’s a quick sum­mary of what was vis­i­ble to the eye: Jonathan Brox­ton en­tered the game with the Dodgers hold­ing on to a 5-4 lead. The All-Star closer loaded the bases. That prompted a visit from hit­ting coach Don Mat­tingly, who was serv­ing as the man­ager in place of Joe Torre, who had been ejected. Mat­tingly talked to Brox­ton and stepped off the mound, but he turned around when he was called by James Loney. Mat­tingly stepped back onto the mound.

Giants man­ager Bruce Bochy came out to speak to the um­pires, point­ing out that by re­turn­ing to the mound af­ter step­ping onto the grass, Mat­tingly had paid a Brox­ton a sec­ond visit. The um­pires agreed, re­moved Brox­ton from the game and es­sen­tially forced Mat­tingly to call on Ge­orge Sher­rill, who served up a two-run dou­ble to An­dres Tor­res.

The Giants went on to win 7-5.

The bizarre se­quence pro­duced some equally bizarre ex­pla­na­tions the next day.

Ma­jor League Base­ball said the um­pires made a mis­take, point­ing to Rule 8.06, which states that if a man­ager vis­its the same pitcher twice in the same in­ning with the same hit­ter at the plate af­ter be­ing warned that he can’t do so, the man­ager should be re­moved from the game. The rule goes on to say that the pitcher is re­quired to pitch to that hit­ter un­til that hit­ter is re­tired or reaches base, but he will im­me­di­ately be re­moved from the game after­ward.

So Mat­tingly should have been ejected and Brox­ton should have been al­lowed to face Tor­res, right? No.

Be­cause Mat­tingly could not have been warned about mak­ing an­other visit to the mound be­tween the time that he stepped onto the grass and when Loney called to ask him where he should po­si­tion him­self, the part of the rule about the man­ager be­ing re­moved from the game should not have ap­plied, a league of­fi­cial said.

But Brox­ton should have been al­lowed to re­main in game to face Tor­res.

Um­pire crew chief Tim McClel­land said he would abide by base­ball’s rul­ing but stood by his crew’s de­ci­sion to re­move Brox­ton and not Mat­tingly.

“It’s a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion over a sit­u­a­tion that hap­pened that’s not cov­ered in the rule book,” he said. “It’s a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion than what’s cov­ered in the rule book. The rule book says it’s a de­fi­ant man­ager.”

The rule book might im­ply that the rule ap­plies to a de­fi­ant man­ager — the rule de­scribes a man­ager who vis­its his pitcher a sec­ond time “af­ter be­ing warned by the um­pire that he can­not re­turn to the mound” — but never says so ex­plic­itly.

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