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Did Don Mattingly cost Clayton Kershaw a perfect game?

Should Don Mattingly have pulled Hanley Ramirez before his error cost Clayton Kershaw his perfect game?

Hanley Ramirez has made 141 errors over the last nine seasons, more than any other player in baseball in that period. The most recent one was the difference between a perfect game and a no-hitter for Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night.

In the seventh inning of Kershaw’s otherwise flawless performance, Ramirez charged in to field a grounder by Corey Dickerson only to make an errant throw. Dickerson would be the only Colorado Rockies player to reach base.

At the time of Ramirez’s error, the Dodgers were ahead by eight runs.

So why was Ramirez still playing shortstop?

After all, Mattingly has replaced Ramirez several times this season for defensive purposes late in games. Mattingly did in this game too, but not until the eighth inning.

“We considered it,” Mattingly said. “You’re in a game you feel good about, but anything can still happen at that point, so we were going to wait another inning.”

Translation: Mattingly didn’t want to be without one of his best hitters in case the Rockies somehow got back in the game, particularly with utilityman Justin Turner recovering from a calf strain and limited to pinch hitting in recent days.

Ramirez was visibly upset in the wake of his mistake, as television cameras showed him talking angrily to himself in the dugout.

To his credit, Ramirez accepted responsibility for the play, saying he agreed with it being scored an error.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said.

Asked if he was upset he didn’t make the play, he replied, “It’s not a good one, when you have a pitcher like him having a perfect game going. You try to do your best.”

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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