In August, Clayton Kershaw called the Los Angeles Dodgers’ season ‘World Series or bust’ and his pitching supported the sentiment. Kershaw won his 11th consecutive game in August, saw it end, then started another that reached seven games by season’s end.
While manager Don Mattingly wasn’t quite as adamant as Kershaw was, he agreed with the sentiment and called it a realistic possibility for the team. Given that the Dodgers didn’t reach the World Series, Mattingly was asked about the mindset his ace held and again offered some caution with the view, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
‘World Series or bust’ is kind of tough.” I don’t mind the mentality but then again you have to have reality, too, I think, where you get unemotional and say, ‘Were we good enough? Did we play good enough?’ Any time you get into the postseason, you get into short series and you get into anything can happen.”
Mattingly went on to add he was proud of what the team did manage to accomplish this year. As fate would have it, a significant amount of blame for the Dodgers not advancing past the NLDS has fallen on Kershaw’s shoulders.
The St. Louis Cardinals managed to beat the NL MVP candidate twice, behind big seventh innings in Games 1 and 4. Prior to the Cardinals getting to Kershaw, he had in large part shut them down to that fateful inning in both games.
With the Dodgers falling short of their goal, Mattingly, for a second straight postseason, faced criticism for his in-game management. While many have called for a new manager to be brought in, Mattingly’s comments Thursday indicate he has job security.
Kershaw will undoubtedly return next season and likely will carry the same view he had in 2014. Mattingly also appears to be on track for a fifth season as Dodgers and the duo will be part of a team that looks to return to the World Series for the first time since 1988.