Los Angeles Dodgers: Is Don Mattingly's Job Safe If They Miss the Playoffs?
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With the Dodgers' baffling 1-0 loss last night to Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks, LA squandered another solid outing by Clayton Kershaw by once again failing to produce a single run.
In fact, this is the second time in two weeks the Dodgers have failed to put up a run against Kennedy, who was last year's third-place finisher in the Cy Young award behind Kershaw and Roy Halladay, but sports a mediocre 4.21 ERA and 13-11 record for the third-place Diamondbacks.
With that loss, the men in blue dropped a full six games behind the San Francisco Giants and have sported a terrible 6-10 record since the blockbuster trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett over from the Boston Red Sox on August 24th.
With only 20 games to go, catching San Francisco seems pretty far-fetched unless the Dodgers win a significant amount of those 20 games and sweep San Fran in the season-ending series.
That being said, they only hover one game out of the second wild-card slot with a crucial four-game series against St. Louis (the team they trail) at home, starting tomorrow night. Their hopes for a postseason berth have not completely disappeared, but who has faith in this lackluster offense?
During the 16-game stretch since the trade, the Dodgers have only scored more than five runs twice, while being shut out four times, including two games in a row. They currently sit at 26th in both runs scored and home runs and sport a pedestrian .250 batting average.
Dee Gordon returns soon from the 60-day disabled list, and maybe his speed will add more runs, but he has struggled at the plate for most of the season before injuring his thumb.
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Obviously, with the new ownership willing to make moves and spend money to revamp this offense, it expects results. Nobody was more active both before and after the trade deadline, as the Dodgers took in over $300 million in salary in hopes of providing a spark to ignite a deep postseason run.
The way they're playing now, they will be lucky to sneak into the postseason, only to set up a one-game play-in with the Atlanta Braves. They may very well win that game (if they make it)—especially with Kershaw most likely taking the mound—but with the way their offense has produced of late, is anyone confident?
That begs the question, if the Dodgers fail to make the playoffs, does Don Mattingly get shown the door?
The new ownership group is obviously not utilizing patience in making a run for the World Series title and it has supplied Mattingly with many tools to succeed, but as it stands now, the Dodgers are simply not producing.
"Donnie Baseball" is popular with his players and definitely had to deal with a major overhaul towards the end of the season, but to finish so poorly with a lineup that features Gonzalez, Kemp, Ramirez and Ethier—all All-Stars within the last few years—may not be acceptable for the front office.
Here's hoping this is a moot point and the Dodgers wake up and realize the urgency that they now face, not only for this season, but for the future.
However, if they continue to play the way they are, who will take the blame?
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