Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers

To say that the Los Angeles Dodgers are under-performing would be an understatement. They’re awful. They’ve been hit with a number of injuries to key players, and they continue to masquerade the likes of Juan Uribe, Luis Cruz, and Mark Ellis as viable infield options on a daily basis. The Dodgers are 18-26 today, which is far below whatever expectations a nearly $217 million payroll may have levied upon them.

Don Mattingly, despite a disappointing record and an awful -39 run differential, received a vote of confidence from general manager Ned Colletti this week. Not that Donnie Baseball should bear the brunt of the blame for a baseball team whose talent level may have been wildly overrated coming into the season, but it’s surprising nonetheless that he’s lasted this long.

Perhaps Mattingly has had enough and elected to slam Colletti’s personnel decisions and his team’s compete level in an effort to rid himself of this most unenviable position. Maybe Mattingly took that vote of confidence as a gesture to indicate that his job is secure regardless of what he may say or do moving forward. Whatever the case, Mattingly unloaded on his players, and Colletti in a roundabout way, with some comments to Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register:

“We gotta find a team with talent that will fight and compete like a club that doesn’t have that talent,” he said, pointing to last year’s team which led the NL West by 5 1/2 games at the end of May despite a far less-talented lineup.

I felt we got more out of our ability (last year). I don’t know about being tougher but I felt we got more out of our ability.

There has to be a mixture of competitiveness. It’s not ‘Let’s put an All-Star team together and the All-Star team wins.’ It’s finding that balance of a team that has a little bit of grit and will fight you. And also having talent to go with it. All grit and no talent isn’t going to make you successful. But all talent and not grit isn’t going to get you there either.”

Mattingly has ostensibly questioned the talent level of his players, as well as their ‘compete level’, and he’s even slammed the construction of the roster he’s tasked with managing. Them’s some words of a frustrated man.

Furthermore, Mattingly chose to keep Andre Ethier out of the lineup for today’s game versus the Milwaukee Brewers. He didn’t exclude Ethier from the lineup because he’s hurt, but rather because he wants to “field a team that will compete the best”, according to a tweet from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times. Ouch.

Was Ned Colletti’s vote of confidence just a ‘kiss of death’, and Mattingly’s firing some shots on his way out? Or is this a case of an old school guy trying to incite his club to pick up their play? Unless the Dodgers make a remarkable turn around beginning this afternoon, then it seems like Mattingly may be making it easy for Colletti to send him home.

Comments (7)

  1. I’m telling you for the last time Mattingly, shave those sideburns or you’re off the team!

  2. Didn’t check who was pitching for Milwaukee, but doesn’t Ethier have some terrible splits? Wouldn’t holding him out of the line up make sense?

    I don’t blame him for being frustrated, the bullpen has been shit and blown a lot of close games. Not to mention the bats have not come around.

    I tend to agree with MSTI that the real problem is Colleti and until he is gone that team will continue to perform poorly no matter how much is spent on it.

  3. If I’ve learned anything this season it’s that baseball is cruel and random.

  4. Ned Colletti hired Mattingly as manager before Joe Torre retired when he was a bench coach. Never been done in the history of the game. Would you have a medical intern operate on you. Mattingly had no managerial experience and it is obvious the game is moving to fast for him. Note the time it takes the Dodgers to loose a 3 to 2 game (4 hours) He slows the game down because he is overmatched and can’t make a decsion. Colletti is the real clown for hiring a Yankee instead of Tim Wallach (Dodger). They can’t hit, base run, pitch, or play defense. Colletti has spent over 1 Billion dollars of owners money sinse 2006. The Dodgers have stunk for his tenure. The Minor Leagues have very little talent, when they have talent (Van Slyke)
    they bury them by paying high priced free agents at the end of there career, some injured, others ( Kemp, Either,Billingley) to name a few. Colletti you can’t buy a championship when you don’t understand talent or dont know the meaning of players that play the game with passion. Mattingly was write the team does not know how to compete. That what happens when players play without a passion for the game. Mattingley a manager is suppose to find ways to motivate his players. What have you done?
    Owners (Magic, Cashman) wake up and quit buying into Colletti bull shit that has not worked the past 7 years. He is stealing and now trying to blame Mattingley. He always has an excuse for his stupid decisions. You committed to the City or Los Angeles to bring the pride of Dodger Blue back to L.A. Fire Colletti and Mattingley, hire Wallach and start listening to Tommy Lasorda. He might tell a lot of stories, but he is the only Baseball man in the front office that has a passion for the game.

  5. Excellent post. I am going through some of these issues as well.

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