photo credit: USA Today Sports
Soon after the Dodgers were swept out of Atlanta by the Braves on Sunday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, was reporting Dodger ownership would soon be firing manager Don Mattingly. Mattingly is forty-three games in to his third season as Dodger skipper and his managerial record is six games over .500. While his first season was played under the penny pinching ownership of Frank McCourt and the 2012 season was one of transition, the Dodgers entered the 2013 season full of expectations.
While expectations were as high as the team's payroll, the 18-25 start was definitely not what ownership and the Dodger fans were hoping for. Injuries have had their influence on the teams horrible start. Chad Billingsley only made two starts before being lost for the season and Hanley Ramirez has only played in two more games than Billingsley. Unfortunately, the Dodgers are not the only team to suffer injuries. Injuries are common place in sports but it's how the team reacts and handles the injuries that separates winners from losers. Has Mattingly's laid back approach come back to bite him in the behind? At a time when the fans are looking for the player's to play with fire and to play with something to prove, it appears as if they don't seem to care. Most will say it is the manager's role to push the right buttons and motivate the team. However, if that isn't the manager's normal style, wouldn't it seem silly for him all of a sudden change his ways? Would it make the players feel as if their manager were cracking under the pressure?
Two to three weeks ago, fans on message boards and social media were calling for the head of lead trainer Sue Falsone because she "wasn't keeping the players healthy." Now, the cries are for Mattingly's head. Obviously, there is no quick fix to solve the Dodgers problems. It would be nice to get some consistent production from Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. It would also be great to get Hanley Ramirez back in the line up. After the bullpen's implosion while being swept by the Braves, the team seems to have hit rock bottom.
Clayton Kershaw's dominant complete game in Monday night's victory was just what the doctor ordered. It gave the struggling bullpen a much needed rest. Andre Ethier contributed with an RBI triple and a solo homerun and Matt Kemp added a solo Bison Bomb for a 3-1 victory. The three game series against the Brewers should be an excellent gauge as to where the Dodgers truly are as a team. The Brewers are a struggling club as well and the Dodgers will be marching out their top three starters for the series. Tonight, the Dodgers will be sending Zack Greinke, the number two punch in the one-two punch combination with Kershaw, to the mound to face his former club. Wednesday afternoon, Mattingly will send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound. If Greinke and Ryu deliver and the offense does its part, come Wednesday evening the media and Dodger fans may be talking about a Dodger 3-game sweep of the Brew Crew. If the Dodgers pull off the sweep, they just might save Mattingly's job.
Since being swept by the Braves was rock bottom, things can only get better. Right??
True to the Blue!