Dodgers lose, manager says he’s OK with team sense of urgency, season stays on sliding course.
Only, you have to wonder how long patience will be the great virtue of the day, how long before nerves become frayed, eyebrows raised, and ultimately, fingers pointed.
The Dodgers are totally mediocre, are 30-28 overall and simply cannot get rolling. They have neither won nor lost more than three consecutive games all season. They dare to be great with their record payroll, but instead of Dom Perignon, they seem more like Korbel.
When greatness is expected but mediocrity is the result, people become unhappy. And whether its players or the manager and his coaching staff or the front office, that can sometimes turn ugly.
The Dodgers could get real ugly if they don’t turn things around shortly. Any player suspected of worrying about himself first could find teammates turning on him. It could only stay in the clubhouse for so long.
And Dodgers President Stan Kasten, who also has a minor stake in the team, does not strike me as the most patient of baseball executives. Ownership has invested heavily in this team and has every right to expect success, not a team hovering around .500.
“Losses have to bother you,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “I know you gotta move forward, you have to let things go, but at the same sense it has to bother you when you lose games and lose series. It should bother you enough that you go to work and stay after it.”
Mattingly, however, said he is satisfied by the team’s sense of urgency. When first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was asked by The Times’ Bill Shaikin if he sensed a lack of urgency, he replied: “Not on my behalf.”
The implication was that he wasn’t so sure about some. It didn’t sound like a team bonding moment.
Andre Ethier and Mattingly already had a little dust-up in the dugout Saturday. Matt Kemp has let his displeasure be known concerning lack of playing time and losing his spot in center field. The bullpen has become highly unpredictable. The defense is slightly improved but still one of baseball’s worst.
All while losses mount, losses for a team that began the season believing that it was capable of doing something very special and has instead become unbearably mediocre.
It’s June now, which means two months of the season are gone but a full four remain. There's time to get it right, of course. But also time for tensions to rise if they do not. Around here, mediocrity can be a dangerous game.