|(photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP)|
If these guys don't turn this around, the entire sports world will be talking about the 2013 Dodgers for many years to come.
They'll be the poster boys for the topic that "money doesn't buy championships." The "most under-achieving team in sports history." The "worst evaluation of talent by a General Manager in sports history."
How else can you put it? They're in the NL West cellar. They're being beat by the worst team in baseball.
Aside from the crippling injuries that have been well chronicled here, it has to be said that Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are killing this ball club with their failures at the plate. Their regression of performance has been astoundingly bad. Their presence in the heart of the lineup is a sucking offensive black hole. There are flashes of their former brilliance, but for the most part, their contributions have been absent this season. Kemp has a .329 slugging percentage and .671 OPS. Ethier's same numbers are .353 and .684. Pathetic. AAA players available in Albuquerque could have put up better numbers while earning the Major League minimum.
|(photo by Harry How/Getty Images)|
Going back to history and the probability that the Dodgers will be remembered for historically negative reasons. The pundits are out in force calling for Mattingly's head. I can't say I'm surprised and even Don has acknowledged it himself. I've never been a great fan of Don's in-game managerial decisions, as I find them to be very conservative and predictable. (Too many Joe Torre tendencies in my book and over using the bullpen to get one batter out at a time in late game situations). But it is my contention that a manager effects the outcome of only a handful of games each year.
During this awful streak, it's hard to place the blame on Mattingly for more than two or three losses. It has been a collective effort of futility. The bullpen hasn't held up it's end. The starters haven't been able to pitch deep into games. Mattingly has been handcuffed with a short bench due to asinine front office decisions to keep injured players on the roster. Kemp and Ethier have stunk. A lackluster bench hasn't performed. Then there is Cruz/Schumacher/Sellers hitting a collective .125. Blame can be placed in many quarters.
Let's cut to the chase. This team isn't as good as we thought. It's certainly not good enough to overcome the obstacles of unprecedented injuries coupled with the tough early inter-division schedule. All the talk of it being early is starting to get old and is utter hog-wash. The season is over 20% complete and there are some tough series' ahead, much tougher than a three game set with the Miami Marlins.
|(photo by Reed Saxon/AP)|