Don Mattingly may well be in his final days as Dodgers manager, but he’s apparently not going to protect his players any longer.
Mattingly held Andre Ethier out of his starting lineup Wednesday in Milwaukee, saying, “I’m putting out my lineup that I feel is going to be the most competitive and going to compete the hardest.”
But it wasn’t only Ethier who seemed to draw Mattingly’s wrath – and it shouldn’t be. In a 5-2 loss to the Brewers on Monday night, the Dodgers’ offensive struggles continued. They were 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position and left 14 runners stranded.
Clearly, Mattingly is frustrated that a team with so many talented players has yet to play and win consistently. The last-place Dodgers rank second to last in the National League in runs scored and began the day hitting .222 with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve got to find a team with talent that will fight and compete like a club that doesn’t have that talent,” he told reporters before the game. Then, referring to last year’s team that led the N.L. West at the end of May, he added, “I felt we got more out of our ability (last year). I don’t know about being tougher but I felt we got more out of our ability.
“There has to be a mixture of competitiveness. It’s not, ‘Let’s put an All-Star team together and the All-Star team wins.’ It’s finding that balance of a team that has a little bit of grit and will fight you. And also having talent to go with it. All grit and no talent isn’t going to make you successful. But all talent and no grit isn’t going to get you there either.”