Fresh off an embarrassing NLDS, the Dodgers look to stick to the script in 2015
For the Los Angeles Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly, any question of whether or not Mattingly will return in 2015 has been answered — at least for the moment.
Following the hiring of former Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman (left) as the president of baseball operations, Friedman’s first order of business was addressing the managerial rumors.
In a press conference Friday morning, Friedman said,
“Mattingly will ‘definitely’ manage the Dodgers next season.”
However, this is not any room for comfort for Donnie Baseball. Reports are circulating that Friedman is awaiting the opportunity to reunite with Rays manager Joe Madden in Los Angeles once Madden’s contract is up with Tampa Bay after next season.
Basically what this means for Mattingly (right), he is on the clock with a World Series or bust mentality.
Mattingly deserves one more chance at the helm of the Dodgers. The regular season was very much a success, finishing with a 94-68 record and winning the NL West division by six games over the San Francisco Giants.
What followed, no one could have predicted. You cannot blame Mattingly for the EPIC meltdown by 21-game winner Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw lost only three games all season and in five days was rocked by the St. Louis Cardinals not once, but twice.
Every superstar athlete has a nemesis, someone who just has their number regardless of talent level. For Kershaw, his nemesis just happens to be anyone in a St. Louis jersey with Matt Carpenter leading the way.
Mattingly put the team in the best position to win and late collapses from Kershaw cost the Dodgers a pair of wins — ultimately the series. In a 5-game series, losing game one at home with a Cy Young Award winner on the hill was devastating.
Maybe the argument could be made that Mattingly kept Kershaw in his starts too long, but that argument is ridiculous because no one was going to pull Kershaw from a playoff game when, at that moment, it was a typical Kershaw gem.
It’s only until the velocity drops and hangers are left over the plate that heads turn to the manager.
If anyone needs to take a bulk of the blame it’s the loose cannon, wild horse Yasiel Puig. His talent level and ability is off the charts, but his decision-making and lack of patience is and has been detrimental to the Dodgers.
Eight strikeouts in three games of the NLDS, including seven straight, is unacceptable for someone who carries the weight of being a young Hollywood superstar.
It is time to cut ties with Puig and regain order within the Dodgers clubhouse.
The Dodgers will contend for a division title again in 2015 and will likely face the Cardinals yet again. With Mattingly on a short leash, it is imperative that he makes the right choices to get the Dodgers over the hump.
Step 1: Zack Greinke starting Game 1 of the NLDS. Kershaw clearly has much to learn about the post season and performing on the big stage.
The world is watching, Los Angeles is watching, Stan Kasten is watching, because a little team from the bay (San Francisco Giants) is headed to their third World Series in five years.
Bruce Bochy is making this managerial stuff look easy. Although Bochy and Mattingly do not have ties, both teams’ success and failures are heavily noticed by the other.
Mattingly has to get it done. Period. The Giants have the formula and with such a heated rivalry that has decades of history, the different directions between the two teams does not sit well with Dodger fans.
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