That's why Ronald Belisario was pressed into a five-out save of a game the Dodgers led by nine runs in the eighth inning, a game so bizarre that after it ended, while his players were celebrating on the field, Mattingly was arguing with umpire crew chief Jim Joyce.
Belisario, a closer when he plays in the Venezuelan Winter League, picked up his first save since 2010 and said he's ready for the role.
"I'm ready to do it all the time," said Belisario, who missed all of last year after testing positive for cocaine. "Any position they put me in I come in and do my job."
Mattingly said he more likely would promote former Mariners closer Brandon League into that spot because of his experience and the fact that League has ironed out a mechanical flaw and shown dramatic recent improvement.
"I don't know what Kenley's situation is, but I'm ready to help this team any way I can," League said.
General manager Ned Colletti has until 8:59 p.m. PT on Friday to acquire a reliever for that player to be eligible for the postseason.
The Dodgers already have two rookies in their bullpen, Josh Wall and Shawn Tolleson. The latter, called up to replace Elbert earlier in the day, didn't retire any of the four batters he faced in Colorado's seven-run eighth inning that made the game close.
Blanton and Ellis, however, made the game a Dodgers win. Blanton ended a three-game losing streak for the club and personally, picking up his first win since the Dodgers acquired him from Philadelphia on Aug. 3. He was charged with three runs in 7 1/3 innings.
"I just tried to keep the ball down," Blanton said of conquering Coors Field. "You're going to give up hits, especially with a big outfield like this. Keep them out of the gap and make them hit singles and you've got a decent chance."
The Dodgers scored six runs in the third inning, capped by Hanley Ramirez's laser two-run homer over the center-field fence, his second in as many games, seventh in the last 13 games, eighth with the Dodgers and 22nd on the season. He has 34 RBIs in 33 games with the Dodgers.
Ellis then seemingly put the game out of reach at 10-1 with his slam and now has 11 home runs and 41 RBIs in his first full season as a starter.
"I was just glad to be adding runs and hoping to rest key guys in the bullpen," Ellis said of his slam. "Unfortunately, we needed the runs."
"We're at 10-8 with tying runs on base in the eighth and have the tying run on base in the ninth," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "That's not easy to do. We've had way too much practice at having to try to do it."
Ellis also helped contribute to one of the oddest scenes of the season when he questioned some ball calls by plate umpire Lance Barrett in the ninth inning.
After the game ended on DJ LeMahieu's double-play grounder and the Dodgers converged on the infield to celebrate, crew chief and third-base umpire Jim Joyce went after Ellis, which made Mattingly change direction and take up the argument with Joyce.
So there he was, the winning manager arguing with an umpire.
"He was talking to A.J. and I wanted to make sure what was going on with that," Mattingly said.