It is becoming increasingly clear, that the Dodgers are not going to make the playoffs in 2012. A wide variety of reasons are responsible for the team’s utter chokefest in the second half. What better way to alienate your fan base then to completely choke down the stretch of a critical pennant race against your arch rival, after the team’s new ownership pulled off a bunch of high profile trades for all-star players? Obviously the Dodgers are not only getting out-played by other teams, they are also getting out-managed.
Injuries, slumps, a depleted pitching staff, a weak bench, no hitting with RISP, and an inexperienced manager, are all reasons why the Dodgers will not be making the playoffs this season. Today I am going to touch on the struggles of second year manager Don Mattingly.
Most of the reasons people give to defend Mattingly is, that the injuries are not his fault, or that Managers have no control over how their players hit or perform. That is all true somewhat, however, once you read the long list of his collective blunders, you may think a bit differently about his tenure. I’m sorry but it’s getting increasingly hard to find any reason to stay optimistic about the team’s chances at making the playoffs this season. Last night, the Dodgers choked away another critical game, losing to the Giants 5-2 with pathetic offense and lousy managing. I like Don Mattingly, I really do. I want him to work out. I’ve been fairly lenient with him this season, and he has been okay up until a few weeks ago. Maybe it’s the pressure that is getting to him, but I can no longer defend any of his moves over the last few weeks. The bonehead decisions he makes are indefensible. As of right now, the Dodgers are 5.5 games back of the Giants in the NL West. That’s the largest deficit they have had all season. The team is 11-17 at home during the second half, and they have a 27-32 record against the NL West. This kind of play is unacceptable. Despite all the optimism over the new ownership, if the Dodgers don’t make the playoffs, the 2012 season will just be another lost season amongst many over the last 24 years. Sure it has been an exciting lost season, but a lost season none the less. All that matters are the end results.
For once I would like for Mattingly to, you know, manage the team to a victory? Please don’t misunderstand the reason for this post. I am in no way blaming Mattingly for all of the team’s struggles, but while the team is choking away the season, his inexperience and tactical blunders only makes things worse during the games. It seems the one area the new ownership forgot to upgrade was the position that needed to be upgraded the most, the manager. Here is a list of all the blunders of Don Mattingly during the 2012 season, in non chronological order:
1. Horribly inefficient usage of the pitching staff, mainly the bullpen, leading to several key pitcher’s blown arms.
2. Constant bunt failures throughout the season.
3. Burying A.J. Ellis at the bottom of the order all season long.
4. Refusing to bat high OBP guys at the top of the order.
5. Batting low-OBP guys at the top of the order all season
7. Playing Adam Kennedy over Luis Cruz more than once.
8. Employing Juan Uribe
9. Not managing with a sense of urgency during critical games.
10. Not managing with any kind of passion or fire.
11. Not motivating players.
12. Incorrectly playing the match-ups.
13. Going with righty/lefty match-ups as his only strategy.
14. Doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results.
15. Batting Nick Punto in the lead-off spot.
16. Putting inferior hitters in the lineup, while benching superior hitters for no apparent reason.
17. Letting Juan Rivera bat with the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth inning.
18. Bringing in Matt Guerrier in a tie game.
19. Bringing in Matt Guerrier with a lead.
20. Using Matt Guerrier in a Major League Baseball game.
21. Bunting guys into scoring position when they are ALREADY IN scoring position.
22. Not understanding or refusing to understand that second base is ALREADY IN SCORING POSITION.
23. Bunting for no apparent reason during a scoring rally.
24. Bunting to play for a sac fly or one run.
25. Not getting a reliever warm before an inning starts.
26. Not thinking ahead during games.
27. Not making his team play aggressively.
28. Making excuses for the Dodger’s poor play
29. Not managing the Dodgers to a postseason birth in the 2012 season.