If a Dodgers team sporting a $230 million payroll to go along with a 19-26 record wasn’t going to cost Don Mattingly his job, it appeared as though some criticism of its players and possibly management may have. This is not the case, though, as Mattingly has received yet another vote of confidence from the Dodgers’ suits.
Earlier this week, Mattingly questioned his team’s compete level, as well as the construction of the Dodgers roster. This came on the heels of a vote of confidence from general manager Ned Colletti. Mattingly, so it seemed, gnashed his teeth at the hand that feeds. Alas, this was not the case. We’ll chalk this one up to ‘motivation’, I guess.
Dodgers vice president Stan Kasten reiterated the ball club’s support of Mattingly on Thursday. Kasten and co. did not see Mattingly’s earlier tirade as a shot directed at themselves, according to a Ken Rosenthal report.
“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.”
Perhaps it helped that Mattingly’s Dodgers went out on Wednesday afternoon and pounded the Milwaukee Brewers 9-2. Just put a bandaid on that compound fracture. Donnie Baseball lives another day.
The fact remains that Mattingly is in the final year of his contract, and the Dodgers are performing far below expectations. He would make an easy scapegoat for the club’s troubles. Never mind that injuries, under-performing high priced players, and a lousy middle infield have hurt the Dodgers, someone will eventually be levelled with blame for the club’s struggles. Surely, it can’t be Ned Colletti and the buckets of money he’s handed out over the last year.
Even with matching votes of confidence from his superiors, Mattingly still seems like a dead man walking. Could Colletti’s support and Kasten’s corresponding pat on the back be the dreaded kiss of death? That may ultimately depend on how the Dodgers fare in this weekend’s three game set versus the St. Louis Cardinals. Not exactly the kind of team that a manager would want to wager his job security against.
The Dodgers open an interleague series against the Los Angels of Anaheim on Monday, another team faced with question marks in the face of a high priced roster. The Angels have won five straight games, and find themselves sitting in third place in the American League West today. The Dodgers may have to be in the midst of a similar upswing if Mattingly will be seated across the diamond from his California counterpart, Mike Scioscia, on Monday.
Whether anyone’s willing to admit it or not, this seems like Mattingly’s last stand.
…And the rest
Tom Tango and Morgan Ensberg on ‘being locked-in’ [Tango]
Did you see Mike Trout’s home run from last night? You should probably see Mike Trout’s home run [Getting Blanked]
Matt Klaassen’s catcher defense rankings demand your eyeballs [Getting Blanked]
FOX Sports Kansas City messes up a graphic [Awful Announcing]
J.P. Arencibia has two walks and 55 strikeouts [Brisbee Nation]
Never change, Blue Jays fans. Actually, no, please change.