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Saturday, October 5, 2013
Don Mattingly stands by decision

By Ramona Shelburne
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly didn't have had much time to sleep on some of the moves he made in the seventh inning of the Dodgers' 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night in Game 2 of the NL Division Series.

The team charter didn't get back to Los Angeles until about 2 a.m. local time Saturday, and Mattingly and the Dodgers were required to be back at the stadium by midafternoon.

But in what little time he did have to reflect, he said he wouldn't have done anything differently.

"I think the situation in the game last night, no matter which way I go, it could be questioned," Mattingly said of his decision to lift right-hander Chris Withrow in the seventh inning for left-hander Paco Rodriguez, who surrendered what proved to be a game-winning two-run single to the left-handed hitting Jason Heyward. "If I leave Withrow in to pitch and give up a hit there, I'm going to question myself and I'm going to be like why didn't I use Paco? So it's one of those things that if move works, if the match-up works, it's good. If it doesn't, it's bad. So there is really nothing other than it not going the way I want it, that I would change."

Mattingly said that he does "go back through and look at every game." But he added that when he rehashed the situation in Game 2, "I don't look at it like we did anything crazy or something that we haven't been doing all year long."

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said he wholeheartedly supported Mattingly's decision in that spot, even though it didn't work out the way the Dodgers hoped.

"I would do the same thing, too, if I was the manager," Jansen said. "You have to go by the match-ups. Normally, Paco might get Heyward out. You've got to give the other team credit, too. Atlanta's a pretty tough team. We know that. They never give up, they never quit. We know that. You have to give Heyward credit for getting that hit."

Why then is Mattingly drawing such heavy criticism?

"Baseball is like that. There's always what-ifs," Jansen said. "If I go out there as a pitcher and I throw a slider and give up a hit, it's like, 'What if? Why didn't you throw your fastball?'

"But I feel like in that situation, Donnie did a tremendous job. You bring Paco in to face Heyward and most of the time, Heyward would've grounded out or Paco would have gotten him out. So you've got to tip your cap to them. They did a tremendous job against us."

Lost amid the decision to lift Withrow -- who would've faced the light-hitting Jose Constanza -- for Rodriguez, were the three critical double plays the Dodgers hit into Friday that squandered many of the 10 hits they managed off Braves pitchers.

"Yesterday we weren't able to get that key hit we needed," Mattingly said. "We don't get the key out, they do. ... It's back to the same thing. Can we execute when we need to? Can we do the things we need to do to win a game?"