October 07, 2014

Will the #Dodgers fire Don Mattingly after losing to the #Cardinals?

At places like Hardball Talk, among fans at posts like this, and bloggers with a theme alike, that's a halfway serious question.

(Update, Oct. 14 — With a new VP for baseball operations "stolen" from Tampa, the fire Mattingly talk is heating up.)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, for whatever reason, benched Yasiel Puig, still arguably the team's best everyday player despite being in a slump.

And, when Matt Adams hit a 3-jack home run off Clayton Kershaw, bringing home Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta to propel the Cardinals to the National League Championship Series, the second-guessing caught fire.

Donnie Baseball made it worse in the top of the ninth.

The Dodgers get a one-out walk by A.J. Ellis off Trevor Rosenthal. Great place for Puig, right?

Mattingly agrees — as a pinch-runner, not a pinch hitter. Justin Turner pinch hits. And strikes out.

Dee Gordon then singles, with Puig only going to second on station-to-station pinch running. And Carl Crawford then grounds out to end the game.

Unbelievable, not only the benching itself, but not using him as a pinch-hitter.

Jonah Keri said this was Donnie B.'s second mistake. He says that, with Kershaw at 100 pitches on short rest, he would have brought in closer Kenley Jansen to face Adams. It's at least arguable.

I mean, the rest of the Dodgers' bullpen — starting with the Yankees West™ spending, willfully, $10 million in a dead-armed non-closer named Brian Wilson — is teh suck, pretty much.

I don't know if Mattingly is gone. But, when your managerial decisions make Mike Matheny look brilliant and even Ned Yost above average?

As I said on that first Hardball Talk link, Kirk Gibson's available. He's got a boatload of #grit he can teach. That said, I know at least one HUGELY "homer" Tigers fan who thinks Gibby should replace Brad Ausmus after just one season.

Finally, let's not forget that Magic Johnson is a part owner of the Dodgers. That's the Magic who, as a Lakers player, got Paul Westhead fired as head coach AFTER he'd won an NBA title, in favor of Pat Riley. And, of course, Riley turned out better. So, don't tell me Magic isn't tempted.

And, per Ken Rosenthal, the LA Dollars (stealing and saving!) will spend more money, too. (Kershaw's new mega-contract starts next year.)

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