PITTSBURGH — When the final instant replay decision went against manager Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers here Saturday afternoon, in the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss, Mattingly waved his hands in disgust in the dugout, and his frustration was barely suppressed when he met with reporters a few minutes later.
From Bill Plunkett's story:
"It's obvious that it's 100 percent clear and convincing," Mattingly said sarcastically of the play, a throw to first base that pulled Sean Rodriguez off the bag. Yasiel Puig was ruled out when replay review determined Rodriguez had kept his toes in contact with the base long enough while securing the ball.
"I'm sure we'll get a photo at some point showing that his foot is 100 percent on the bag," Mattingly went on. "I'm sure it's 100 percent. That replay system is so good that there's 100 percent to turn over there that means it's clear and convincing that the foot was on the bag. I'm hoping to get a photo of that.
"I just want to get it right. If they get it right, that's fine. If it's 100 percent clear and convincing that his foot was 100 percent on the bag, then that's what the call should be and it's the right call."
Mattingly has other things to worry about as well. The Dodgers are in first place, but they aren't playing very well. Like many rookies before him, Joc Pederson has faded in the second half and now faces some major offseason work in the batting cage to reduce how quickly his front hip turns and sabotages his swing. Yasiel Puig's OPS is down almost 200 points from his rookie season, and Mattingly sometimes bats him sixth. Despite expenditures in the neighborhood of $300 million this year — easily the most in the majors — the Dodgers don't have much pitching depth. Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are Cy Young Award candidates, and they have a combined 2.12 ERA. The rest of the staff, however, has a 4.03 ERA, and the team ranks 21st in bullpen ERA (3.93). The Dodgers bypassed the priciest deadline acquisitions, such as David Price, Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, Aroldis Chapman and Joakim Soria, and focused on more modest solutions in Mat Latos (who allowed six runs in four innings here Saturday), the young and controllable Alex Wood and relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan.
The Dodgers still feel like a team that's a work in progress, with many more moves to come.