If ever there was a manager that didn’t seem to give a crap whether he won or lost, it was Donnie Baseball. Seemingly dispassionate and putting forth an outward appearance like he couldn’t be bothered, Donnie somehow lasted 5 years as the Dodgers manager. He never seemed mad, just annoyed from time to time. Like the interviewer was interrupting his dinner. Donnie “Complacency” Mattingly, I used to call him. I was glad when he wasn’t retained. I’m much happier with Dave “Doc” Roberts, even though I still think he’s a sabermetric marionette. At least he has a pulse. But, Donnie seems like he’s three or four bong hits in most of the time. So, you can imagine my shock and surprise when he went ballistic the other night in the Dodgers’ second consecutive 7-2 win over Mattingly’s lowly Marlins. Eibner hits a 2-run blast earlier in the game. Seager swings at a 3-0 pitch with a 5-0 lead in the 7th, which apparently somehow pissed Donnie off. (Why? It’s only 5-0 in the 7th. It’s not 10-0.) And, then Cody craps on an. A.J. Ramos fastball and deposits a 2-run blast into the Chavez Ravine night. So, Ramos’s next pitch drills Eibner in the ribs. On purpose? Of course. Whaddaya think, we’re all stupid? Then, when Ross stripling does precisely the right thing and protects his teammates by throwing the first pitch of the top of 9 behind Giancarlo Stanton’s butt, Donnie suddenly wakes up from a 7 year slumber. Rip Van Mattingly goes bat shit crazy and comes storming out of the dugout like the Tasmanian Devil, chasing after Dodgers bench coach, Bob Geren, and wants to engage in fisticuffs with the guy by the pitchers mound. THAT’S what flips his switch? Seager swinging at a 3-0 fastball with a 5-zip lead in the 7th? Gimme a break. How very odd.
The soon-to-be-sold Marlins have a weak club. Poor starting pitching without their late, great ace and a bad bullpen. But they do have a pretty solid starting lineup. Justin Bour is coming into his own at first base, and when the left side of their infield gets healthy, they could potentially give opposing pitchers a rough time. But no pitching, no wins. The Dodgers did what they were supposed to do and beat a bad team 3 out of 4.
When did it come to pass that anytime a major league player runs 180 feet, there’s a reasonable chance he’ll pull a hammy and be DL’d? How is Justin Turner so tight in the middle of a game that he can’t round third base without pulling a muscle? When I was a little tyke collecting Topps baseball cards and listening to Vinny on the radio, I remember Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey played everyday. They never seemed to pull hamstrings running around the bases. Oh, I’m sure it happened, but not nearly with the frequency it happens now. What the hell? Are they doing too many leg presses and not stretching enough? Or have muscles just gotten tighter since the 70’s?
The Rockies are in first place because they’re a better team than the Dodgers. How long that’ll last, I don’t know, but they’re just better. They don’t have Kershaw and Seager, but they have better players overall. They have a true leadoff hitter who also hits for power, they have a true middle of the order and a manager who doesn’t platoon people to death. They have great bench depth with a strong bat coming off the DL soon and good young starting pitching with a couple guys expecting to come off the DL. They have a superb bullpen. Can the Dodgers pass them and win the division? (AND pass Arizona?) Of course, but we’re gonna have to get a lot better. How…?
This 7 man rotation is dumb. I’m over it. Guys gotta know when they’re pitching and need to know their roles. Meanwhile, our precious phenom, Julio Urias – only 20 years old – has pitched himself back to the minors his last 2 outings and certainly doesn’t look like the guy they’re counting on to become their new Zack Greinke. (Greinke – 6-2 with an 2.82 ERA, just K’d 12 White Sox. Kinda wish we still had him?) But, again, Julio is only 20, and we do suddenly have an ace in the making with Alex Wood. Who’da thunk it? The lefty with the weird delivery and the deer-in-the-headlights expression on his face is taking guys apart. Let’s just hope it lasts. But I don’t trust Ryu, Maeda, or, frankly, even McCarthy that much. Hill is the wild card in this equation. If he can stay blister-free and repeat what he did last year, we should be okay.
Cody Bellinger has a lotta knocks in a short time, but he strikes out as much or more than my mom would, and she’s 83 and can’t hit righties. There are times when young Cody looks like Lou Gherig, and there are times, like yesterday against very bad pitching, where he just looks completely over-matched. I guess he should, since he’s so young and raw, but what does that mean when we talk about the Dodgers winning with him THIS year? Seager is, thus far, having a bit of an off year, still solid though. JT is on the shelf, but very productive and will be back. I’m no longer a believer in AGone, regardless of how he did yesterday. They’re actually talking about platooning Chris Taylor (who simply hits too much to sit) when JT and the great Logan Forsythe return. Puig is still Puigin’, but still not a difference-maker. He needs to be more consistent and not hurt his back on weak check swings. Yasmani’s hitting up a storm from the left side, and Pederson just plain stinks. Overall, the Dodgers have a very solid team, but still seems like they can use another power bat in the middle and another veteran presence in the outfield. And it just feels like the Rocks are a notch above the Blue offensively. Now that Cargo is turning it up, (his average has gone up 40 points in the last 2 weeks) and LeMahieu, Blackmon, Arrenado, Desmond, and Reynolds are all raking, the Rockies have overtaken the Nats for the best record in the league. They’re gonna be tougher to beat than anyone imagined. Especially the Dodgers.
It’s almost June. Not sure how I’m gonna pay my rent and not sure how the Dodgers are gonna step on the Snakes and climb over the Rockies. Tough series starting tomorrow vs St. Louis and then, the Cubs. The Redbirds always play us tough and the Cubs are, well, they’re the World Champions and, like Don Mattingly, they’re finally waking up.