LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly wasn't the only one who messed up in the ninth inning Tuesday night. Arguably, so did the umpires, even though they defended their decision before Wednesday's game. When James Loney called out to Mattingly and he returned to the mound after stepping off it a few feet -- despite plate umpire and Minor League callup Adrian Johnson's warning "No, no, no" -- San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy correctly protested that it was a second trip to the mound.
Because Mattingly disobeyed the umpire's warning, the rule calls for Mattingly to be ejected and for Jonathan Broxton to face the next batter, then be removed. MLB has told the umpires this interpretation was the correct one. Instead, the umpires ruled that Broxton had to be removed immediately. Mattingly brought in George Sherrill, who didn't have a chance to warm up in the bullpen. Crew chief Tim McClelland did not agree with MLB's interpretation. "I am not of the opinion [that's the way the rule should have been applied]," McClelland said. "The league is of that opinion. It's a difference of opinion in a situation that's not covered." "A defiant manager; in that situation, the pitcher has to pitch," McClelland said of what's covered. "We were processing what had happened [before Bochy came out.] I have never seen that situation in my 28 years as an umpire, and heard about it only once. [Whether he was defiant] was part of our discussion." McClelland said the umpires were aware of Mattingly's mistake before Bochy came out of the dugout to talk. Bochy appeared to be unaware that Broxton could have stayed in. "I don't know when that [rule] was changed," said Bochy, who discussed the rule with his coaches Tuesday night. Once Sherrill was in the game, the umpires erred again, allowing him only eight warm-up pitches when he should have received enough pitches to get sufficiently loose. Sherrill then gave up the game-winning double to Andres Torres. McClelland told Mattingly that Sherrill could all have the pitches he wanted. But the umpires weren't watching: McClelland was explaining why Broxton was removed to the other Dodgers players. Johnson, at home plate, was filling out notes on what had happened and didn't issue a final pitch warning as he would normally. And in the Dodgers' dugout, Mattingly and pitching Rick Honeycutt were talking to each other. Sherrill said he was actually asked twice if he was ready to go, but he had no idea who was asking the question either time, and he took both questions to be sarcastic. "When I went by Sherrill, I asked if he was good to go," McClelland said. "He said, 'Yes, I guess.' He could've told me, 'No, I'm not.'" "When I first got out there, somebody kind of said -- I don't know who it was, I just heard a voice when I came set to throw my first one -- they said 'You about ready?' Just kind of messing around," Sherrill said. "It was before I threw a pitch, it was just trying to be funny. The second one was right about the time I was throwing the last pitch. I was like 'Yeah, I guess, cause I'm not getting anymore.' I thought he was kind of kidding around again. Looking back on it, thinking if he was serious, he would've stopped the game." McClelland said he would've granted more pitches had he known Sherrill needed more. "If Sherrill had said 'No, Tim,' or if Mattingly would've come out of the dugout," McClelland said. Mattingly was the acting manager because Dodgers manager Joe Torre had been ejected, along with pitcher Clayton Kershaw, after Kershaw hit Aaron Rowand with a pitch. Both benches had been warned earlier in the game after Giants starter Tim Lincecum hit Matt Kemp with a pitch. Torre, who along with Kershaw and bench coach Bob Schaefer were suspended on Wednesday, said he was told by MLB vice president Bob Watson that the umpires made two errors. "It was a mistake," Torre said. "Broxton should have been allowed to pitch to the hitter and Donnie should have been thrown out, according to the rules. I was consumed with the Sherrill thing. McClelland told Donnie he'd have as many pitches as he needed. The umpire behind the plate stopped him at eight. McClelland said, 'Ready?' and George said, 'I guess so,' and that was that." Mattingly said he learned about the rule on Wednesday while reading up online. The Dodgers could have protested the decision to remove Broxton, but only at the time of the umpire's decision. "It's our situation to make the protest," said Torre. "The people supposed to do it weren't even in the dugout. That's me. It was just a screw-up all the way around. We had the right to protest, and we didn't do that. The umpire sort of messed up, too." "Yeah, they probably would have," Bochy said when asked if the Dodgers had grounds for a review. "It might have caused everybody to review the rule." Torre said he called McClelland after the game because he was troubled that the umpires put his pitcher's health in jeopardy. "It's dangerous to put a pitcher out there who's not loose, that's putting the pitcher in harm's way," Torre said. "Apparently nobody told George he could have as many as he needed. Evidently [Johnson] didn't know that rule."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter and Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.