Magill's six in spot start not enough for ailing Dodgers
Recalled from Triple-A to start for Ryu, rookie allows four homers
DENVER -- Rookie Matt Magill made history Sunday, and he probably won't ever forget it, as much as he'd like to.
An emergency starter for the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu, he walked nine and served up four home runs in a 7-2 Dodgers loss to Colorado, a combination of hittable and unhittable pitches so rare that in the modern era (since 1916), it had never been done.
It happened in part because Magill was required to take one for the team, to keep throwing almost regardless of the results. Not known at the time, the Dodgers will likely go through the same "emergency" drill Monday, when Stephen Fife fills in for an injured Chris Capuano, so the club was desperate for Magill to eat innings.
He ate six of them, but the taste was pretty sour. He needed 110 pitches (55 strikes, 55 balls) and was charged with seven runs (six earned) on only five hits (four homers), striking out five in addition to the nine walks (one intentional).
Manager Don Mattingly acknowledged it was hard to watch and harder to manage.
"I feel like I had my hands tied behind my back today," he said. "You do what you have to do."
For Magill, he had to rest a bullpen after back-to-back 10-inning games. Magill even flew into Denver on Saturday night to get sufficient rest. But he allowed a home run to the first batter he saw -- the first of two by Dexter Fowler -- then issued a walk and trailed, 2-0, after the first inning.
Mattingly said games like Sunday's can test the mettle of any young ballplayer.
"That's what you worry about," Mattingly said. "He's a tough kid who works hard. It can [damage him], but only if you let it."
Skip Schumaker's two-run double off Jorge De La Rosa tied the score in the second, but Magill never got untracked. He allowed homers in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to Todd Helton, Michael Cuddyer and Fowler again, while running up his pitch count with the nine walks that fell three short of Stan Williams' franchise record set in 1961.
"I just couldn't find it today," said Magill, who had a 5.50 ERA in four previous starts, all no-decisions in games the Dodgers eventually lost. "I didn't feel my legs underneath me. I knew it would be a battle from the beginning. I just tried to go as long as I could. I knew my job was to go as long as I could."
Magill was pitching on seven days' rest, as management held him out of Triple-A Albuquerque's rotation because of the uncertain health of Ted Lilly, Ryu and Capuano. He threw a bullpen session Thursday that put him on schedule to start Sunday.
Magill acknowledged that he had never moved between classes until doing it twice this year and he's dealing with the necessary adjustments. Still, he already had an alarming 13 walks in 18 innings.
"Today was different than the other starts," he said. "Then I was trying to be too fine. Today, I was just missing. Not missing by inches, but missing by feet."
He abandoned his fastball by the third inning and was just tossing sliders and changeups the rest of his outing. And as Mattingly pointed out, until Fowler's two-run blast in the sixth inning, Magill actually kept the Dodgers within reach, despite all the walks.
"He's shown flashes, and we know his stuff is good enough, but you're not able to walk that many and have success here," said Mattingly.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers lineup -- which had three players from the Opening Day batting order and three that started the season in the Minor Leagues -- couldn't get a baserunner past second after the second inning, as De La Rosa finally beat the Dodgers after losing his previous eight decisions against them.
"First time I pitched like that against them," said De La Rosa. "I'm glad to get my first win against them."