Umpire Adrian Johnson is not a man who will dilly nor dally with his decision-making. In last night's heated Dodgers-Giants game, Johnson, manning home plate with an iron fist, tossed enough Los Angeles personnel to clear up enough room in the dugout for Fat Old Tom Lasorda. And believe this: having given the heave-ho to both manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer after Clayton Kershaw hit a Giants batter despite both benches being clearly warned, thus leaving hitting coach Don Mattingly to lead the team, perhaps the Dodgers would have been better off with Lasorda. Because Mattingly made quite the faux pas.
The game was knotted at five in the ninth and the Giants had runners on second and third. Mattingly had brought in closer Jonathan Broxton despite Torre's wishes to give him a rest after a tough Sunday. He ambled out to the mound for a bit of a chat with Broxton after intentionally walking Aubrey Huff to load the bases. Mattingly then turned and took a few steps toward the dugout before turning again and repositioning first baseman James Loney.
But Giants manager Bruce Bochy knew this was a no-no and realized that the time Mattingly spent chit-chatting with Loney actually constituted a second trip to the mound. A few years back, Bochy, then managing the Padres, pulled the same stunt with Dodgers manager Grady Little, causing Little to pull Brad Penny against his wishes. This time, he tipped off home plate ump Johnson, who discussed the matter with the rest of the crew and decided that yes, Broxton needed to be replaced.
This meant that Mattingly needed to bring in struggling George Sherrill, who was granted just eight warm-up pitches and promptly gave up the game-winning two-run double to Torres. Game over. Mattingly probably screwed this one up, although Rob Neyer investigates what he deems to be a hazy rule that could have forced Mattingly to be ejected, too. Lasorda never would have made that mistake, though, because he'd have been too busy devouring a meatball parm sandwich to even make the first trip out to chat with his closer. That's Hall-of-Fame managing right there.