After just two weeks in the major leagues, Dodgers pitcher Matt Magill has the basic philosophy of pitching down pat. Not bad for just three starts.
"If you make quality pitches, you'll get guys out. If you don't, you pay for it," Magill said. "If you're not able to throw the ball over the plate, the walks will hurt you."
Magill learned that lesson the hard way on Friday night, as he walked four batters in just five innings in a no-decision against the Marlins. It was a game he led 3-0 after the first inning, but was burned by his lack of control in the fourth inning. After walking two in the inning, Magill grooved a full count fastball to fellow rookie Derek Dietrich, who hit a game-tying three-run home run.
"It was just right in the middle," Magill said. "It was tough because I walked two guys before and was trying not to walk the other guy 3-2, but it was right down the middle.
Magill will almost certainly be the roster casualty once Zack Greinke is ready to pitch for the Dodgers, whether that is next Wednesday or some time soon after. But if Magill can improve on one thing, it's improving his command.
"It looked like his stuff was good, but you can't keep getting in bad counts," manager Don Mattingly said. "You keep getting in those counts and you'll eventually get hurt."
Magill threw just 55.9% of his pitches for strikes on Friday, down from starts of 68.9% and 60.3%. He has 10 walks (and 11 strikeouts) in 13 major league innings in his three starts. That followed 14 walks (and 23 strikeouts) in 19 innings in Triple-A.
"I need to get better that way, and be able to attack guys, and go from here," Magill said.
The Dodgers hope to avoid hate potion number nine on Saturday night, with Hyun-jin Ryu facing off against the resurgent Kevin Slowey in the middle game of the series.