When the front office last rallied around Manager Don Mattingly, the Dodgers were seven games under .500. Another month has passed, and the last-place Dodgers have fallen 11 games under .500.
The Dodgers have played no better, but Mattingly remains the manager.
“It’s still our intention that this is how it should be,” General Manager Ned Colletti said before Saturday’s 6-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers are on pace to lose 93 games, a total exceeded only once since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. They entered play Saturday with the most errors of any team in the major leagues and the fewest runs of any team except the Miami Marlins.
Still, Colletti said, he does not see the lack of effort in the Dodgers players that would make him consider dismissing Mattingly.
“If you see people stopped, you’ve got to think a different way,” Colletti said. “I don’t think we’ve seen anybody stop.”
Colletti traced at least some of the Dodgers’ inconsistency to injuries that have forced bench players into more prominent roles. Utility man Nick Punto has more at-bats than second baseman Mark Ellis or catcher A.J. Ellis; utility man Skip Schumaker has more at-bats than shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
“We’re still trying to get our team on the field,” Colletti said. “When you lose as many players as we’ve lost -- move people from part time to full time, from position to position, in different spots in the batting order -- you need things to go well to survive.”
The Dodgers have played two games this season with Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Ramirez and Andre Ethier -- the projected heart of the batting order -- all in the starting lineup. With Kemp expected to rejoin the Dodgers later this week -- he started a minor league rehabilitation assignment Saturday -- that quartet should be good to go.
And, although Carl Crawford remains on the disabled list, Yasiel Puig has been more than adequate as an outfield replacement.
This might be the last chance for the Dodgers to get back into the National League West race, and Mattingly’s job might depend on a great leap forward in the standings. The Dodgers, with the highest payroll in baseball history, are 91/2 games out of first place, and 51/2 games out of fourth.
As if Puig has not done enough for the Dodgers this season, club officials asked him Saturday for a scouting report on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the right-hander who defected from Cuba and is now a free agent.
The Dodgers got a favorable report from Puig, and from their scouts who watched Gonzalez on Thursday in Tijuana.
Gonzalez is scheduled to throw for major league teams in Tijuana again Friday. Jaime Torres, the agent for Gonzalez, said he hopes the U.S. Treasury Department will clear his client this week so negotiations with interested teams can begin.
Kemp went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts for triple-A Albuquerque As expected, Chris Capuano will start on short rest for the Dodgers on Sunday Matt Magill, who has started six games for the Dodgers this season, was put on the minor league disabled list because of what Mattingly called tightness in the right forearm.