With Friday’s win, the Los Angeles Dodgers climbed to within 6.5 games of the San Francisco Giants, who sit atop the NL West standings. The Dodgers are now four games above .500 and are 6-3 since manager Don Mattingly used an expletive to describe the team’s current state.
Mattingly’s comments followed a loss and were made hours after he questioned whether the overall focus was being placed on the team or individuals. At the time, the Dodgers had concluded a 10-game homestand with a disappointing 4-6 record and were set to hit the road for seven games.
The Dodgers won four of the first five games on the trip, then dropped the remaining two. While it was a flat ending to a trip that began to suggest the Dodgers had turned the corner, Mattingly was pleased over the Dodgers’ play.
Similar to last season, Mattingly has again found himself on the hot seat as the Dodgers have been consistently inconsistent. In an interview with Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, Mattingly revisited his comments that set off a media fire storm:
I really don’t want to try to manipulate the media in any way,” Mattingly said in a one-on-one interview monitored by a team public relations staffer. “I just want to be myself. On that day, I felt we weren’t as good as we could be.”
Mattingly further added he doesn’t attempt to create controversy, though he conceded it can inadvertently occur:
You try to stay away from controversy, to be honest with you. You’d like to not have turmoil with your club, if you can avoid it. I’m obviously not trying to create it, but sometimes I guess what you say does.”
Aside from a handful of remarks this season, much of the controversy Mattingly has dealt with has been tied to the roster and not his public statements. The Dodgers are carrying five outfielders, four of which are everyday caliber players.
Ultimately, judgement on Mattingly is going to rest how the Dodgers’ season plays out. Coming off a trip to the NLCS and with the highest payroll in baseball, expectations are high and Mattingly could wind up taking the fall.
Dodgers Update: Mattingly Uses Expletive To Describe Team’s Play