Vin Scully gave a (surprisingly brief) interview on SportsNet LA with Alanna Rizzo Thursday evening in which he spoke about several topics. Most notable among them: how it was the Dodgers’ season ended.
Scully spoke about how the Dodgers looked great against “the unders” – meaning teams under .500 – and struggled against “the overs”. Anyone who watched the Dodgers for extended stretches would tend to agree.
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Scully’s observation holds truth as the Dodgers have struggled once they get to the playoffs after racking up regular season wins (see their in-division record, especially against the Diamondbacks and Padres). Sure, they can rough up the essentially pathetic Nation League West, but when they face consistently better opponents and, more important, pitching, the runs dry up.
This is no spectacular revelation. When you play better teams, it gets harder to score. When the pitching dips, the runs come more consistently. There are few more sufficient masks of roster flaws than even further flawed opponents.
Scully also commented on Don Mattingly’s departure.
“You know, over the years – and that’s a lot of years – I’ve seen teams that are supposed to win and lose, and I’ve seen them let the manager go…
Management has to make a move. The fans are unhappy, understandably, they’re disappointed, they’re frustrate, and now you’re going to start another year. So, what you’re saying to them, in essence, he’s a terrific guy and we love him and he did a good job, but we need a new fresh, driving spirit for 2000-and whatever year.”
Again, I’m rolling with Vin on this one. While Don was managing a flawed roster (as detailed above) so you can’t fully blame him for the postseason exits, eventually, a change simply makes sense.
Making moves simply to appease the fans is rarely ideal, but after multiple postseason exits, the team might start to tune out the manager. I’m not saying this was the case here, but if it’s something either the front office or Mattingly were worried about, that’s a legitimate reason to go separate ways.
More than anything, though, it was great to hear Scully’s voice, and especially great to hear him say he can’t wait to be back for 2016.