Through 113 games this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were 63-50. Through 113 games in 2015, the Dodgers were 63-50.
Gone are Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon and Dan Haren (plus Hyun-Jin Ryu due to injury), and in their spots are Joc Pederson, Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick and Brett Anderson (plus others). While it’s unfair to compare the two because of the changes, many still feel the need to do so because of the fact that this year’s team is being run by Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi. The new front office has handled the team in their own way, but to similar results thus far.
Manager Don Mattingly was asked about the identical records to this point and the 54-year-old compared the two teams. “Yeah, similar honestly,” Mattingly said. “I feel like it’s probably been a little easier club to deal with as far as just getting ready and not feeling like we won’t be ready to play. Less antics, I guess for lack of a better word, outside of the game.”
While Yasiel Puig gets a lot of criticism for his presence in the clubhouse, especially after the release of Molly Knight’s book, it appears he has matured and is no longer an issue. Kemp took issue from being moved from center field last season, and the entire outfield situation was troubling in terms of keeping everyone happy.
Mattingly went on about the two teams and his confidence in this year’s club. “I guess we’re kind of the same based on our record,” the Dodger skipper remarked. “I don’t worry near as much about this club. I feel pretty good about their work and they’ve been consistent in their preparation.”
The biggest change came up the middle, and not just on the field, where Rollins and Kendrick are veterans that have brought a more professional approach, plus Rollins brings championship experience.
Even though some of the playing time issues became non-issues because of injury, Mattingly is once again dealing with too many outfielders for just three spots. He talked about that and making sure the team is in a good place. “It’s a part of it,” Mattingly said. “You have 25 guys and trying to get everyone going in one direction, not everyone is always happy. Whether they’re not playing enough or whatever that might be. I think you’re always trying to get everybody on the same page and going in the same direction.”
Finally, Mattingly was asked if he missed anything about the 2014 version of the Dodgers.
“I’d have to go back and look at it,” the Dodger manager said. “I’m sure there is, I don’t mind craziness now and then. We definitely had different personalities last year and a little more drama.”
The ultimate test will come if the Dodgers remain where they are at and make the postseason, as the team last season fell in the first round.