Matt Magill, 2012 Lookouts' Ace, Impresses In MLB Debut

Stellar Start Is Spoiled By Bullpen Failure

Sunday, April 28, 2013 - by Report
Matt Magill pitching at AT&T Field in the summer of 2012.
Matt Magill pitching at AT&T Field in the summer of 2012.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' bullpen squandered a quality start from Matt Magill in his Major League debut and an opportunity to beat the Brewers with a patchwork lineup late Saturday night.

Matt Guerrier served up a two-run homer in the seventh, plus another in the eighth, and the Dodgers lost to the Brewers, 6-4, on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

The Chattanooga Lookouts staff ace in 2012, Magill, 23, started in place of Stephen Fife, who was placed on the disabled list before the game with right shoulder bursitis.

The right-hander, called up from Triple-A Albuquerque, didn't appear to be rattled under the bright lights and allowed two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings. The Southern League's strikeout leader last year with 168 in just 146 innings, he struck out seven against two walks and made 103 pitches.

"I was just amazed by his confidence and his composure and his ability to slow the game down," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "He was in complete control of his mannerisms and his body and he was great. He was amazing. It was a big pick-me-up for our team."

Magill, ranked No. 7 among the Dodgers' top prospects walked off the field to a standing ovation in the seventh after striking out Jean Segura to end his outing. As Magill headed to the dugout, it looked as if he would go out a winner with the Dodgers leading, 3-2.

"Walking off the field was awesome," said Magill, who grew up in nearby Simi Valley. "Everyone cheering for me, that was huge and I really appreciate all of it."

The Dodgers aren't planning on keeping Magill in the rotation for an extended period because Chris Capuano is likely to return from the disabled list as early as May 6. Nevertheless, Magill said it felt good to show the organization he can be an effective Major League starter.

"I just wanted to come and show that I could do it," Magill said. "Whatever happens here on out, I have no control."

The more immediate concern for the Dodgers is the bullpen.

Paco Rodriguez relieved Magill and allowed a bunt single to Norichika Aoki. Second baseman Skip Schumaker, starting in place of the injured Mark Ellis, grabbed the slow roller with his bare hand and fired it into the Brewers' dugout, allowing Aoki to move into scoring position.

Guerrier came on for Rodriguez, and Gomez took the right-hander deep to left on a 1-1 curveball that caught too much of the plate. Gomez was looking for that pitch too, and didn't miss it.

"I knew he was going to come with a front-door curve on the inside," said Gomez, a former teammate of Guerrier's with the Twins. "I was going to stay back, wait until the moment I could drop the head [of the bat] to the ball, and that's what I did."

It was the matchup the Dodgers wanted, though. Gomez had been 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his career against Guerrier.

"Matt has good numbers with these guys, good numbers with Gomez and it didn't work out tonight," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

Guerrier returned for the eighth, and Martin Maldonado belted a hanging slider into the Dodgers' bullpen.

"That's what happens when breaking pitches hang in the zone a little bit longer than you want," A.J. Ellis said. "It's kind of the fine line you have to play when you're throwing breaking balls. When they're good and down in the zone, you get a lot of outs and swings and misses. But when they hang and they stay up, they go a long way."

The Dodgers tried to mount a comeback, but came up just short.

Andre Ethier launched a solo shot to left to lead off the eighth and cut the deficit to 6-4.

In the ninth, the Dodgers had runners on the corners and two out. A.J. Ellis hit a grounder up the middle that looked like it would reach the outfield, but Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez ranged to his left to snag the ball, turned and bounced a throw to first to end the game.

"Off the bat, I thought it had a chance up the middle, but that's one of the best defensive shortstops of all-time in my opinion," said Ellis, who had an RBI single in the third. "As soon as I saw him enter the picture, I knew it was going to be tough [to beat the throw]."


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