With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the seventh inning on Wednesday evening at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers turned to right-hander Chris Hatcher to protect their 4-2 lead.
Two batters later, the Miami Marlins were winning 5-4 and Hatcher was eventually lifted after loading the bases again on a walk after getting two outs. Pedro Baez came in and got a strikeout to limit the damage. Despite giving up two hits, a walk and three runs, Hatcher left the game with a lower ERA because the baserunners belonged to Carlos Frias and Adam Liberatore. Hatcher ended the day with a 6.55 ERA, and while he wasn’t charged with the loss, he was on the mound at the time.
While manager Don Mattingly was not making the decisions after being ejected for arguing over a review earlier in the game, he did defend the move to bring in Hatcher after the game via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
There’s all kinds of reasons (to go with Hatcher ahead of Baez). We look at matchups and things like that,” Mattingly said. “If I was in the dugout, I would have done the same thing. We thought that was a Hatch spot.”
Hatcher was acquired from Marlins in the offseason, along with Austin Barnes, Kiké Hernandez and Andrew Heaney (who was later traded for Howie Kendrick). The 30-year-old was expected to solidify the bullpen after having a strong season in Miami in 2014, ending with a 3.38 ERA in 52 appearances. When Kenley Jansen went down before the season, Hatcher was expected to be able to fill the void in the ninth inning until Jansen returned, but Hatcher struggled a bit to start the year.
The Dodgers will need the right-hander to improve in order to continue their winning ways.
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