Don Mattingly is not too caught up in home field advantage


People said the Dodgers tried to buy a roster and that you “can’t buy chemistry.” They also wrung their hands that the Dodgers “peaked too soon.” That first bit of hokey conventional wisdom has been demonstrated as ridiculous and the second bit is pending, but seems like a stretch too given how resilient this team has been.

What’s next on the baseball conventional wisdom checklist? How about home field advantage in the playoffs? Because Don Mattingly is not too concerned about that, either, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. He’s way more concerned with player health than pressing them too hard after everything is clinched and reminds us that “we’ve seen wild card teams win the whole thing.”

Now, I don’t put home field advantage into the same category as “peaking too soon” as there is some empirical evidence to suggest that, yah, home field is better than being on the road. But I still think it’s better to have a healthy team than a home team if a choice must be made and I like how Mattingly isn’t too caught up in the things the sportswriters get caught up with.

I know he was under fire earlier this season and I never really considered Mattingly to be one of the game’s top managers (or bottom for that matter). But he has definitely impressed me as this season has gone on. He’s dealt with bad play, great play, controversies and big personalities. He’s mixed kids and veterans and high dollar contracts with journeymen and nothing seems to have taken him off his game.

Here’s to seeing him do more to undermine the conventional wisdom too.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.

In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.

The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.