Conventional baseball wisdom holds that pitching takes on greater importance in the playoffs than the regular season, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has lived it.
When he was the New York Yankees’ batting coach from 2004-07, he recalled, “(Robinson) Cano was hitting ninth. It was dangerous. But those clubs didn’t win.”
Mattingly believes the reason was simple.
“We didn’t pitch enough,” he said. “Playoffs are a whole different animal. Short series are always tough, even a seven-game.”
Assuming the Dodgers qualify, who will begin the playoffs in the starting rotation? Mattingly ducked the question for a second straight day Sunday and he can for the moment, with only five healthy starters on the active roster. He won’t be able to if/when Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Joe Blanton, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are all healthy.
This could be the manager’s biggest decision all season, if not in his brief career.