UPDATE: Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says Don Mattingly is “doing fine”

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UPDATE: Just a quick follow-up from this morning, Dodgers general maanger Ned Colletti told the Associated Press earlier this evening that manager Don Mattingly is “doing fine.”

Asked if it was false to say Mattingly would be fired this week, Colletti simply said: “My perspective hasn’t changed. I’m done talking about it.”

8:52 AM ET: I mean, yes, it’s totally reasonable to think his job is in jeopardy given how poorly the Dodgers have played amid high expectations. But Ken Rosenthal’s latest column is pretty bold in speculating that Mattingly’s days are numbered. Rather than just analyze the team’s struggles, Rosenthal talks about his gut feeling that Mattingly could be fired at any moment. And quotes an anonymous scout who feels the same way:

Watching Sunday’s meltdown on television, I thought, “Mattingly might be gone tomorrow.” And then I got a text from a rival scout, one who has no particular insight into the Dodgers, but is attuned — like so many in the sport — to the game’s day-to-day rhythms.

“Making the call — Donnie Ballgame will get the axe tomorrow,” the scout said.

When I asked the scout why he thought that, he replied, “Gut feeling. The way they’ve been losing.”

Rosenthal is kinda like Buster Olney in that rarely do either of them make predictions or speculate about things without a pretty solid basis for doing so and rarely do either of them tease something that is unlikely to happen. While I don’t have too big a problem with people who handle their beat differently, there’s a conservatism about Rosenthal and Olney that is admirable in the scoop business.

So I can’t help but wonder — and it is just a wonder — if maybe Rosenthal has some inside info on Mattingly’s future that, while not quite solid enough to be actionable in a proper news report, gives him some comfort to say stuff like this.

Either way: I look forward to the “Trey Hillman-as-interim-manager, transitioning to Mike Scioscia as permanent manager” era for the Dodgers with great eagerness.

The 2017 Yankees are, somehow, plucky underdogs

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There’s a lot that has happened in the past year that I never, ever would’ve thought would or even could happen in America. Many of them are serious, some are not, some make me kinda happy and some make me terribly sad. I’m sure a lot of people have felt that way in this oddest of years.

There’s one thing in baseball, however, that still has me searching my feelings in a desperate effort to know what to feel: The New York Yankees are the postseason’s plucky underdogs.

This is not about them being lovable or likable — we touched on that last week — it’s more about the role they play in the grand postseason drama. A postseason they weren’t even supposed to be in.

None of the three writers of this website thought the Yankees would win the AL East or a Wild Card. ESPN had 35 “experts” make predictions back in March, and only one of them — Steve Wulf — thought the Yankees would make the postseason (he thought they’d win the division). I’m sure if you go over the plethora of professional prognosticator’s predictions a few would have the Yankees squeaking in to the postseason on the Wild Card, but that was nothing approaching a consensus view. Their 2017 regular season was a surprise to almost everyone, with the expectation of a solid, if unspectacular rebuilding year being greatly exceeded. To use a sports cliche, nobody believed in them.

Then came the playoffs. Most people figured the Yankees would beat the Twins in the Wild Card game and they did, but most figured they’d be cannon fodder for the Indians. And yep, they fell down early, losing the first two games of the series and shooting themselves in the foot in spectacular fashion in the process. Yet they came back, beating arguably the best team in baseball and certainly the best team in the American League in three straight games despite the fact that . . . nobody believed in them.

Now we’re in the ALCS. The Astros — the other choice for best team in the American League if you didn’t think the Indians were — jumped out to a 2-0 lead, quieting the Yankees’ powerful bats. While a lot of teams have come back from 0-2 holes in seven game series, the feel of this thing as late as Monday morning was that, even if the Yankees take a game at home, Houston was going to cruise into the World Series. Once again . . . nobody believed in them.

Yet, here we are on this late Wednesday morning, with the Yankees having tied things up 2-2. As I wrote this morning, you still have to like the Astros’ chances given that their aces, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, are set to go in Games 5 and 6. I’m sure a lot of people feel still like the Astros’ chances for that reason. So that leads us to this . . .

It’s one thing for no one to have, objectively, believed in the Yankees chances. It’s another thing, though, for the New York Yankees — the 27-time World Champions, the 40-time American League pennant winners, the richest team in the game, the house-at-the-casino, U.S. Steel and the Evil Empire all wrapped into one — to officially play the “nobody believed in us” card on their own account. That’s the stuff of underdogs. Of Davids facing Goliaths. Of The Little Guy, demanding respect that no one ever considered affording them. If you’re not one of those underdogs and you’re playing that card, you’re almost always doing it out of some weird self-motivational technique and no one else will ever take you seriously. And now you’re telling me the NEW YORK FRIGGIN’ YANKEES are playing that card?

Thing is: they’re right. They’ve totally earned the right to play it because, really, no one believed in them. Even tied 2-2, I presume most people still don’t, actually.

I don’t know how to process this. Nothing in my 40 years of baseball fandom has prepared me for the Yankees to be the David to someone else’s Goliath and to claim righteous entitlement to the whole “nobody believed in us” thing.

Which, as I said at the beginning, is nothing new in the year 2017. I just never thought it’d happen in baseball.