Faulty phone costs D-backs as Reynolds can't get loose
LOS ANGELES -- In the eighth inning of a tight game Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, D-backs manager Chip Hale knew he wanted to go to left-hander Matt Reynolds to match up with Dodgers top prospect Corey Seager, a left-handed hitter. The problem was, Reynolds didn't know it. The bullpen phone in the visitors' dugout at Dodger Stadium wasn't working.
So when Seager came up with one out, a runner on second and Arizona trailing by one, Hale walked to the mound and called for a reliever who hadn't been warming up. Reynolds came in cold, with only his eight allotted warmup pitches to get loose. Four pitches into the at-bat, Reynolds spun a curveball into Seager's wheelhouse, and the Dodgers rookie launched it into the right-field seats for a two-run homer. The D-backs, suddenly facing a three-run deficit with only three outs to make it up, went on to lose, 4-1.
"Matt wasn't even up," Hale said. "This is a really difficult phone here, one of the harder ones in the league, and I guess the communication wasn't there. We wanted him ready for Seager, and I guess he wasn't even up. So that's obviously an issue with the coaching staff and myself. We just can't let that happen."
Reynolds had been warming up in the sixth inning, and again in the seventh. But he hadn't thrown at all in the eighth.
"I didn't know until I got called in," Reynolds said. "The phones, I guess, are tough to hear, and they're staticky and stuff sometimes. Things like that happen. It's nobody's fault but my own for not making a good pitch."
According to Hale, though, that wasn't the case.
"It's just not really fair to him, having the mental preparation of throwing a couple of balls down in the bullpen," the D-backs skipper said. "So we'll take that one."
Without the benefit of those bullpen pitches, Reynolds did, in fact, have to slightly alter his routine once he jogged in from left field. After all, he said, a situation like that had never happened to him before.
"My first couple of throws were just kind of getting the arm going again," Reynolds said. "It usually takes a couple of throws to get the feel of the slope going down the mound."
Still, he insisted that being called into action on such short notice didn't make the difference in the at-bat against Seager.
"Physically, I was ready to go," Reynolds said. "It wasn't a major issue. Mentally, I felt like I was ready to face that guy, and I didn't make the pitch."