Are they listening now? Are they?
Is there actually reason to believe things with the Dodgers will be different after Manager Don Mattingly kept the clubhouse doors closed for approximately 15 minutes for a team meeting following Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the Diamondbacks?
Mattingly is not particularly fond of these things, but after watching his listless-looking team give away early at-bats -- it took Arizona’s Ian Kennedy just 19 pitches to retire the first six Dodgers -- he had plainly seen enough.
“I don’t ever plan a meeting,” Mattingly said. “You get a feeling. Feel like things need to be talked about and put out in the open.”
The schedule is suddenly against them. They trail the Giants by 4½ games with 30 to play. If the Giants play just one game over .500 the rest of the way, the Dodgers would have to go 20-10 simply to tie them.
So came the sudden meeting, his message to his talented clubhouse clear.
“Just make sure we know where we’re at, and the urgency of the situation,” he said.
Do they really need the obvious pointed out? It looked that way. Mattingly said several players also spoke, which is good. Later will be too late.
“It was a good meeting,” said Adrian Gonzalez. “What makes a great team meeting is how you respond to it.
“We have to come out [Friday] and play hungry, go out there and basically at the end of the day, just win.”
Find a way, not wait for it to present itself. Put complete focus into each game, each at-bat, each pitch, each ball in play.
Catcher A.J. Ellis said Mattingly’s message ultimately was pretty basic: “Play to win every night. That’s it.”
And play with a sense of urgency?
“That’s probably a good word to use,” Ellis said.
The Dodgers have lost four of their last five to teams with sub-.500 records. Teams they should be beating up on. They haven’t looked particularly competitive, overtly intense. A grand opportunity could slip away if they don’t turn things around soon.
So came the team meeting, one more attempt to get their attention, to set their focus.
“If we win tomorrow,” said Clayton Kershaw, “it worked.”