Don Mattingly calling upon his closer in a five-run game is something managers normally don’t do. Will this come back and bite him later in this series? There were a few other options Mattingly could’ve used other than calling upon Kenley Jansen in a non-save situation. Let’s take a look at who they were.
Brian Wilson could’ve pitched the ninth, giving him two innings pitched. If he would’ve done that, it could’ve helped in getting Wilson’s feet even more wet in a postseason game. The fact that Ronald Belisario hasn’t been too good for the Los Angeles Dodgers lately, a five run game would’ve been a great time just to see what they’ll get from him.
The young Paco Rodriguez could’ve been used, that way they could see how such a young pitcher would handle the postseason spotlight. Pitching Chris Withrow in that spot would’ve been helpful too. He’s not exactly the pitcher I would call upon in tight situations, so when would he actually see the field other than opportunities like last night?
Even using multiple pitchers in the ninth would’ve been nice to see. Lefty specialist J.P. Howell could’ve been used against a lefty and get a sneak peak at what they could see if he’s called upon later on in the series.
Using the team’s closer in a game where he’s not needed in the postseason tells me that maybe Mattingly isn’t that confident in Jansen and he wanted to see just what Kenley could do against the Braves’ lineup. That idea is probably far-fetched, but either way, there was no need to Jansen to be on the mound at all last night. Hopefully it doesn’t come back and bite the Dodgers later in the series.