Dodgers Lineup:Crawford 7 M.Ellis 4 Gonzalez 3 Kemp 8 Ethier 9 A.J. Ellis 2 Punto 6 Uribe 5 Capuano 1
The Dodgers will have their work cut out for them on Friday night when they open up a three-game set at Dodger Stadium against the first place Cardinals. Amidst all the Mattingly drama the games continue to come. With a quarter of the season in the books, Mattingly will need to turn this ship around in order to make any sort of run at the division or postseason play.
Ever since Ken Rosenthal’s May 19th piece entitled “Ax to fall soon for LA’s Mattingly,” every blogger and baseball writer responded to the bold comments Mattingly made putting blame on the players and particularly Andre Ethier who he benched in the final game versus Milwaukee. Some people speculated that Mattingly was trying to get fired or knew he was about to get fired and didn’t care anymore. I have always disliked Mattingly’s laid back approach, and I often wanted to see more “fire” out of him since he became manager in 2011. Sure, these recent comments are full of fire, but they are also full of blame.
The team should always come first. Sure, the players have underperformed this season so far. The management and coaching staff have fallen short as well. Sharing the accountability is something management should do. Apparently the front office and ownership have said they back Donnie, and he is in not close to being fired.
On Thursday, an off-day, the President Stan Kasten had this to say about Donnie:
“I know what Don is trying to do, what his intention is,” Kasten told FOXSports.com on Thursday. “It’s to light a fire, kick-start the team. He’s trying everything he can think of. We’re all behind him.”
Just because Kasten said they’re behind him doesn’t mean he’s not going to get canned soon. The one thing we know for sure is that barring a total 180° by this team, Mattingly will not be re-signed by the Dodgers after this his final contract year. I’m not sure if they’ll fire him mid-season, but I’m almost certain that upper management and the owners are looking into replacement options whether internally or externally. Once the All-Star Break comes-and it’s fast approaching-then we may see a change if the Dodgers are still in last place.
Don Mattingly may not have the happiest of clubhouses to work with anymore, and this may cause some rifts between management and the players. Andre
Ethier took the high road when confronted about Mattingly’s comments. He said he was offended, and he argued that he always comes to the ballpark ready to work hard. I think by individually calling out a player it will just fracture your relations with the players. Some say it will light a fire under these players, yet it may just end up causing Donnie to get fired.
The Dodgers will come home to take on one of the toughest teams in baseball right now. Can Donnie rise to the challenge? The St. Louis Cardinals are 30-16 and in first place in the National League Central, and they sport a 16-8 record on the road. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are in last place and 19-26.
Chris Capuano will be making the start for the Dodgers. The left-hander has looked like the effective Capuano in his last two starts where he only allowed 1 run on 5 hits in both games. His last outing ended up being a no-decision in Atlanta, but his performance was win-worthy before the bullpen came in and blew the game. Capuano has had trouble against St. Louis in the past, and he is 5-6 with a 5.83 ERA against the Red Birds in his career.
Lance Lynn will vie for his seventh win of the season for the Cards. Even though Lynn has had a pretty solid season thus far, he only made it through 5 innings in his last start after allowing 4 runs on 8 hits to Milwaukee. (The Cardinals won two of three in the series they played against the Brewers a week ago). Lynn has only pitched 12 innings against the Dodgers, and he is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA and 12 strikeouts in those 12 innings.
Donnie might be okay for now, but as the season progresses there will be a point in time when the team will want to go in a new direction. As much as I want Mattingly to succeed with the Dodgers, the culmination of the past two seasons and then the awful start to this one doesn’t put too much confidence in me regarding him as the skipper. I’ve seen countless bad game decisions over the past season and a quarter, and many of those directly impacted the course of the game.
Mattingly may be on thin ice, but things will eventually break through if the Dodgers cannot turn things around. Even with all the frustration and disappointment, I still think it’s wrong to call out players when the team as a whole is failing. Ethier has been hitting better of late as well, so maybe it’s time to think about cutting the dead weight on this team like Luis Cruz. There are still ways this team can be improved internally. Ethier is the least of my concerns, and the focus of anger and mistrust should be in the bullpen and the bench. It was pretty clear going into this season that there were holes in this roster.
Will the Dodgers band together and turn things around? Don Mattingly sure hopes so.
The 7:10 p.m. game will air on Prime Ticket. Let us know what you thought of the game afterwards on the recap post!