Prior to Monday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs, Dodger manager Don Mattingly told members of the media that he was disappointed with the way his first place team had played in the just concluded three-game series against the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.
“It was a series that we pretty much got outplayed,” said Mattingly. “We didn’t do very much with their pitching. They’re in a dogfight, and we can say that (too) but human natures tells us that (we’ve) got a little bit of a cushion that we’re riding and get away from that mentality a little bit.
“I think you see a team over that was a little more intense and more fight in their at bats. You see them foul off more pitches and take advantage of everything that we did wrong. Those are the kind of teams we’re going to have to beat if we want to get where we want to go,” Mattingly added.
Mattingly also acknowledged that his team came dangerously close to being swept by the Red Sox.
“If it wasn’t for Ricky (Nolasco) we would have (been) swept. Ricky pitched great and Hanley hits a two-run homer. If it wasn’t for Ricky right there we probably end up getting swept in the series.”
In spite of yet another rough outing by left-hander Chris Capuano in Sunday’s series finale against the Red Sox, Mattingly said that he plans to stick with Capuano as his fifth starter for the remainder of the season.
“I thought Chris deserved better,” said Mattingly. “He threw five innings and really could have given up one run. But as of right now there are no plans to take him out (of the rotation). Depending on how things go, we may slip ‘Fifer’ (Stephen Fife) in there at different times to give our guys an extra day. Everything is still kind of fluid in that area but right now we have no plans to take Chris out.”
Capuano allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with a walk and 3 strikeouts on Sunday but was unable to go longer than five innings for the fourth time in his last four starts.
As for Stephen Fife, Mattingly said that the 26-year-old right-hander would definitely be among the September call-ups, this in spite of struggling a bit in his six rehab appearances (two starts) with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes since coming off the disabled list a second time for bursitis in his right shoulder.
“We’re hoping that his next (start) is better. He’s actually pitched better here (with the Dodgers) than he has down there (in Triple-A) almost every time,” added Mattingly.
In his six appearances with the Isotopes since returning from the DL Fife is 1-3 with a 7.44 ERA which ironically is identical to Capuano’s ERA in his last four starts with the Dodgers. Fife has allowed 17 runs on 19 hits while walking 13 and striking out 17. However, in his nine starts with the Dodgers this season Fife is 4-3 with an excellent 2.47 ERA. He has walked 14 while striking out 40 in his 51 innings of work with the Big club. Fife is scheduled to make another start with the Isotopes on Thursday, which will put him on track for a September 3 start if he remains on his current five-day schedule.