Mattingly ready to turn page on Pirates series
PITTSBURGH -- The Dodgers were pounded by the Pirates, 13-6, with the nation watching on Sunday Night Baseball. They lost key contributor Howie Kendrick indefinitely to a left hamstring strain. A four-run lead in the fifth vanished in a bullpen meltdown that hung eight runs on new reliever Jim Johnson.
They suffered their first three-game sweep by the Pirates in 15 years, their first in Pittsburgh in 16 years and are 16-27 against teams with winning records.
Despite all of that, the Dodgers remain in first place and the manager was already moving on to the homestand that opens Monday night against Washington.
"We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves," Don Mattingly said. "Nothing happened here in Pittsburgh that changes our mind about our club. Basically, we had a chance to win every game in the series. We're lucky, really, where we're at. Nothing changes my mind that we can play with anybody."
That said, the rebuilt starting rotation and rebuilt bullpen had a rough last four days, including the series finale in Philadelphia on Thursday. Sunday night starter Alex Wood joined Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Mat Latos in not delivering a quality start. And Johnson has now allowed 12 runs in 3 2/3 innings with the Dodgers after allowing 12 runs in 48 innings with Atlanta prior to the trade.
"We're not going to take one weekend and change our mind about anything," Mattingly said when asked about the pitching of newcomers Latos, Wood and Johnson.
Johnson pointed out that of the six hits he allowed in the inning, all singles, some were "weak contact." But he also walked one, hit one and gave up two line drives. He entered the inning trying to protect a 5-3 lead, and the tiebreaking run scored on a bases-loaded swinging bunt by Starling Marte, while Andrew McCutchen (who tomahawked a two-run homer off Wood earlier) followed with a two-run single.
"It was one of the worst professional innings I've ever had, so it can only go better from there," said Johnson, a former 50-save All-Star with Baltimore. "A little bit of luck never hurts. I felt like that was needed."
Mattingly had left-hander J.P. Howell warming up until deciding to let Johnson face switch-hitter Neil Walker, who sliced a shallow sacrifice fly that left fielder Andre Ethier caught with a slide to tie the game. Because of the bullpen usage Saturday night, Mattingly said at that point he didn't want to burn another reliever and left Johnson in to face 10 batters. Then he brought in Joel Peralta, who allowed a first-pitch homer to Jung Ho Kang.
"I didn't have any other choices," Mattingly said of leaving Johnson in. "The game yesterday was pretty much a bullpen game. Once we don't get outs, it changes the complexion."
Mattingly didn't throw Johnson, or the scouts that recommended his acquisition, under the bus.
"He was really good in Atlanta this year, which tells you he's going to be really good for you, and we have confidence in that," Mattingly said.