While most Dodgers fans believed that this was the week that manager Don Mattingly would be fired, news broke all day today that management is fully behind his latest remarks.
On Wednesday, Mattingly ripped into his team and rightfully so for their poor play and talked about players needing “grit” and to play with more passion.
However, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweeted earlier that there was a meeting between Mattingly and upper-management:
Source re: meeting between Mattingly/his staff w/ Colletti after Tuesday’s game: “I think the air was cleared and a new direction was given”
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 23, 2013
While we don’t know what new direction the source is pointing to, but it sounds like stars like Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp could find themselves on the bench if they aren’t producing.
Mattingly was rumored to be fired earlier in the week, but the Dodgers took two of three from the Brewers, seemingly saving his job for now. At 19-26, the Dodgers are arguably the most disappointing team in all of baseball, but have enough time to dig themselves out of their early season hole.
Injuries and a lack of production from the middle of the lineup have played a huge role in their slow start and it’s not like there is a coaching candidate out there that could turn things around.
Yes the manager usually takes the fall when things are going bad, but it’s necessary to take inventory of the players around you and team that’s on the field. Higher expectations were definitely justified, but it’s hard to fault a manager when your bullpen blows three straight games or your stars aren’t hitting with RISP.
Internally, the Dodgers have also mentioned the possibility of calling up Yaisel Puig and Joc Pederson, but that’s only likely if an outfielder is traded or injured.
The old line, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” holds true as the Dodgers are still only six games back of first place. Hopefully Hanley Ramirez will be off the disabled list soon and the Dodgers starting rotation can keep them in the race until their offense finally clicks.