Since Friday, I have been hearing a lot of people complaining and have read a few articles criticizing Don Mattingly for removing Adam Conley from a potential no hitter on Friday night. Conley was 4 outs away from making history but was at 116 pitches when his skipper pulled him. Was this the right decision? ABSOLUTELY.
As I was watching his performance Friday night, the cast of MLB Tonight were saying how there is no way Mattingly can take him out and that if they were Conley, they would not give the ball up. I was confused as I heard this because isn’t a young pitcher’s future more important than one moment of glory? Sure, being recognized for throwing a no-hitter is a once and a lifetime opportunity. But in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? If a pitcher throw a no-hitter, the team has one more win in the win column than the previous night. In order for Conley to complete the no-hitter, it could have taken anywhere from 10-25+ pitches to complete the game. Is it really worth throwing a 25 year-old in what could be his first full season in the big leagues 130+ pitches just to receive the recognition for throwing a no-hitter? Shouldn’t the team be more worried about Conley throwing 160+ innings for the season? Anytime a team can limit a pitcher’s pitch count, especially a youngest attempting to make a name for himself in the big leagues, should take that opportunity and run with it.
This is not the first time this has happened this season as the Dodger’s Dave Roberts removed Ross Stripling after 7.1 no hit innings against the San Francisco Giants. Stripling, who is coming off of TJ Surgery, was only at 100 pitches but was no where near ready to throw 100+ pitches in a game. I think there is no question that Mattingly and Roberts both made the right decision. Every time a starter is making a bid for a no-hitter and their pitch count is over the normal count, I think about Mets’ manager Terry Collins, who is ultimately responsible for leaving Johan Santana in the game when he threw the first no-hitter in Mets’ history in 2012. Santana had battled arm injuries and Collins let him finish the game at a 134 pitches. Santana accomplished something that no Mets pitcher had ever done before. He also was never the same after that. It’s a risk that in my opinion is not worth taking even if Santana would say he has not regrets even today.
So is one moment of glory more important than a pitcher’s future? I guess everyone has their own opinion about it but in my eyes, Mattingly and Roberts both made the right decision.