In a matter of a few months, drastic changes were made within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. In an effort to get the team over the hump in the postseason, significant changes were made to the roster so that it better suited the vision of a revamped front office.
With the 2015 campaign in its final days, comparisons have been made constantly between the 2014 and 2013 clubs that were similarly talented, but ultimately fell short in October. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hasn’t always been willing to detail the similarities — or differences — when comparing the teams he’s had these last three seasons, but did so on Friday.
“We’re a little different mentality-wise,” Mattingly said. “More of a team that is more professional, not such the craziness around us. It’s a little bit more business-like. They have a lot of fun, most teams do, but I think at game time, this team has been pretty good about getting down to business. A lot more bread-and-butter, day in, day out type of team.”
Veterans like Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick, and Chase Utley have brought with them a business-like approach that Mattingly has previously remarked been a good influence on the clubhouse.
Now that the Dodgers have officially clinched the National League West, their focus lies on attempting to secure home-field advantage for an NL Division Series matchup with the New York Mets.
The Mets had their game Friday night against the Washington Nationals rained out, and are playing a day-night doubleheader on Saturday. The Dodgers’ win against the San Diego Padres moved them one-half game ahead of the Mets in the standings as of Saturday morning.
Mattingly acknowledged home-field advantage is better had than not, but doesn’t believe it guarantees anything. “It’s always a crapshoot,” said Mattingly when describing postseason baseball and how it differs from the struggles of the regular season.
The fifth-year manager also expressed confidence in the 2015 Dodgers, which he’s had over the last two postseasons as well. “I think we were capable enough the last two years. We just haven’t played well enough,” Mattingly said.
“We’re going to have to go play well. Just go out and play our best baseball. If we do that, we’re capable of going a long way.” Game 1 of the NLDS is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 9.