If there was one claim that couldn’t be made against the Los Angeles Dodgers this season it was that they lacked talent. However, the Dodgers’ talent also came with its share of challenges.
Among those was manager Don Mattingly finding an outfield alignment that best suited the team without completely alienating the outfielder who would be on the outside looking in. Eventually that became Andre Ethier and while he wasn’t happy with the situation, he bought into Mattingly’s plan.
Another issue that didn’t quite get as much public attention, though dated back to last season was the team’s chemistry, or lack thereof. When addressing the media in his final press conference of the 2014 season, Mattingly said it wasn’t an issue and he was confident heading into postseason play, via Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider:
All year long, I think we’ve kind of battled that talk: ‘We need to get ready to play. We need to get ready to play,’” Mattingly said. “You were there when we got into September and how comfortable I was that this team was ready to play. You just felt it. So, I don’t worry about our chemistry. These guys, to me, stuck together all year long. I really went into that series thinking we were gonna win. I think we were prepared to win. I think these guys were all in. And we got beat.”
The Dodgers never truly showed any signs of lacking chemistry, with the only suggestion coming in Matt Kemp’s yelling at Yasiel Puig in the dugout of a September game in Colorado. While that could have been passed off as a heat-of-the-moment situation, Mattingly later let on that situations have transpired behind closed doors.
Chemistry didn’t appear to be an issue in the Dodgers’ NLDS, but rather the lack of a trustworthy bullpen ultimately serving as their downfall. However on Friday, it was revealed Yasiel Puig’s benching was tied to frustration that came with his effort and focus.
The Dodgers face plenty of questions in the off-season and how to solve a perceived chemistry issue may be among them.