The 2013 Dodgers are a tremendous flop. A failure of epic proportions, a real stinker. The Dodger’s 2013 season is like laying a rotten egg. The team was hyped up to be World Series contenders and has instead fallen flat on their face. The club is still buried in last place ten games under .500 as the team travels to New York to play the Yankees for the much anticipated two game interleague series homecoming for manager Don Mattingly.
Accountable- (of a person, organization, or institution) Required or expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible
The question is, who is to blame for this magnificent failure? Without doubt the blame should and will fall to the manager. Sure there is plenty of blame to be shared. Yes GM Ned Colletti is at fault for building a poorly constructed roster. Yes, the players are at fault as well for underperforming, sure, and maybe the training staff should have a spotlight shown upon them after all of the crippling injuries. But one man has to be held accountable and that’s the manager.
What makes Don Mattingly above accountability? Why is it that people get so irate when someone suggests that Mattingly the MANAGER of the club held responsible for the team’s poor play. That’s how things work. A manager is responsible for his team’s play. You can call that unfair if you would like, but it doesn’t change the facts. The Dodgers are not a good team. They are a bad team that plays crappy Baseball. It’s the manager’s job to make sure the team is winning, and if they aren’t he has to find solutions to the problems.
The problem with Don Mattingly is that he doesn’t do that. He offers no solutions, nor does he even attempt to offer them. He just shrugs his shoulders and says that he doesn’t know. Well Don, if you don’t know, then we have to get someone in who does. Sorry.
Yes I know Mattingly doesn’t hit or pitch, or play defense. Yes I know. I don’t care. The Manager is still the captain and is responsible. Yes you can make the misguided point that Ned Colletti is worse, and that the poorly built roster has had more detriment on the team then Donnie Baseball. Sure fine, but it doesn’t mean that Mattingly is suddenly good at his job. Of course people love to point that out. It makes them look cool and smart. After all, Ned Colletti is the evil GM who has destroyed the Dodgers with his terrible signings of past their prime veterans. The nerdy stat kid then pats himself on the back for proving his righteous point. Because that Lasorda’s Lair dude just doesn’t get how bad colletti is right? And it can’t be poor Donnie Baseball’s fault right? He doesn’t play, and Colletti built the roster and blah blah blah.
Colletti’s poor roster construction shouldn’t mask Mattingly’s terrible managing. Another excuse the Mattingly supporters love to throw out is that managers don’t make any difference on a club’s won loss record. This is the one that bothers me the most. If that is the case, and managers really don’t do anything, then what is the job of a manager? A manager isn’t just supposed to put his players in positions to win, he is supposed to WIN ball games. If a manager has no direct influence over a team as some people suggest, then tell me why managers are needed? Why not just let the players manage themselves?
Oh wait that’s pretty much what has been going on since day one. I think a big problem is that Mattingly doesn’t do anything. The game just passes him by way too quickly. Case in point.
Yesterday afternoon the Dodgers were playing the rubber game of their three game set with the Pirates in Pittsburgh. With the Dodgers down 5-3 in the top of the sixth, the team put together a rally. The Dodgers loaded the bases and with two outs, but the number eight spot in the lineup was due up that was occupied by Luis Cruz. As we all know, Cruz has been terrible this season. He is batting .132 which is a mark of an automatic out. That is below your standard pitcher. The obvious move was to replace Cruz with a pinch-hitter. With the game on the line and the bases loaded with two outs, there is no way you can just let your worst hitter bat in that situation.
But Mattingly just stood there. He did nothing, and when Cruz predictably whiffed, it destroyed the last viable rally the Dodgers would have in the game. They would not get another hit for the rest of the game and would fall to the Pirates 6-3. But that wasn’t all. Because Mattingly decided to pull Cruz for a double-switch in the very next inning. Very next inning! Typical Donnie Baseball, a day late and a dollar short.
The truth is Mattingly doesn’t do anything. He just doesn’t know how to be an effective manager. Even more annoying is the spoon fed crap he gives the media. He may not be able to manage his team to a victory but he sure as heck can spin-doctor a press conference. According to Howard Cole that’s exactly what he did last week during the Last Brandon league fiasco against Arizona.
So let’s get this straight, we have a manager who is bad at game management and a poor strategist, he doesn’t motivate his players nor can he get the most out of his players the way Tommy Lasorda could. He’s bad at managing the bullpen, he doesn’t plan ahead during games, he doesn’t offer any solutions to the problems. He’s just a poor manager, plain and simple. The Dodgers are way overdue for a change.
You can call me an idiot, or whatever I don’t care. The proof is in the results. The Dodgers are bad at every aspect of the game. They can’t hold leads late in games, their bullpen has lost 16 games and ranks 25th in ERA. The Dodgers are one of the worst and least aggressive base-running teams in the majors, and they rank 27th in defensive ratings. Only four teams have made more errors in all of Baseball. Not to mention the pop-gun offense ranks 27th in runs scored and home runs. The team can’t hit with runners in scoring position nor, can they stay healthy.
Oh BTW as, Howard Cole so astutely points out, he is now the most losingest manager in Dodger history. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice guy. This isn’t saying anything bad about him as a person. And if the Dodgers want to retain Donnie in some other capacity, I don’t have a problem with that, just not as manager. That’s the thing though, his niceness causes people to be blind to his shortcomings. I can see the writings on the wall. I can read between the lines. It’s not hard to notice how bad at his job he truly is. We all wanted Mattingly to succeed, but it’s just not working out.
The Dodgers could turn their season around but not with the current management. The easiest way to try and turn around a flaccid team is to hire a new manager. We’ve seen so many teams benefit from a managerial change. It can bring a fresh perspective and a new voice into the clubhouse. It can re-energize a team.
The sooner they do it the better. The longer they wait another day ticks off the calendar. We’ve already played almost half the season. It’s not still early. Today is an off day which would really be the perfect time to do it. I don’t care who replaces him, it’s way past overdue. Donnie Baseball is no Tommy Lasorda, he’s no John McGraw, he’s not even a captain Kirk. I would even settle for a Chekov or a Lt. Commander Data. Just someone with some passion would be nice. It’s time to get the captain off the bridge.
The Dodgers need to make the change as soon as possible or there may not be any season left to save.