This report was sort of lost last night as it came during the game, but Don Mattingly and the Dodgers have apparently agreed to disagree about his long term future in Los Angeles and will reunite next season for what looks like what will be a lame duck year. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports:
Don Mattingly will return to manage the Dodgers next season. Mattingly and the Dodgers agreed on at least that much Wednesday, as both sides said they would honor their existing contract.
“Absolutely,” said Stan Kasten, the Dodgers’ president and primary decision maker.
Said Mattingly’s agent, Ray Schulte: “Donnie’s always been a man of his word and he’s under contract.”
This contrasts with Mattingly’s position earlier this week, in which he said he wouldn’t come back if the Dodgers merely exercised his 2014 option and did not extend him. This was followed by the Dodgers firing Mattingly’s friend and bench coach Trey Hillman. And it came when there are multiple job openings, including one on the Nationals, where Mattingly was once said to be a highly sought-after managerial candidate. Now, he’s back in Dodger blue. Maybe not peacefully. But he’s back.
One would think that the Dodgers would want to now work on a contract extension with Mattingly. Who, after all, did a pretty darn admirable job holding a team together that looked ready to crumble and had what, ultimately, was a pretty successful season.
For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per MLB.com’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and two walks total.
The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.