Don Mattingly on the Dodgers: “Basically, we’re sh**ty”

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The Dodgers lost again last night and are eight games out of first place. Manager Don Mattingly is disgusted. Here’s what he had to say after last night’s loss:*

“Basically, we’re sh**ty,” Mattingly said. “We’re just not that good . . . Home, away, whatever. I don’t know what that has to do with it . . . I really think you should talk to [the players]. I’m tired of answering the questions, honestly.”

Last season the Dodgers hit a low point when they were nine and a half games out. Mattingly was almost fired then, partially because when you have a $200 million roster you can’t really replace the players, partially because he seemed to be in a personal funk, disgusted with what was going on. We saw his displeasure on display at the end of last season too, when his friend and bench coach Trey Hillman was fired and Mattingly had issues with Ned Colletti.

I’m not advocating for the dismissal of Mattingly — I think he deserves a lot of credit for last season’s turn around — but a manager’s job is usually to be the one who calms everyone down when they get frustrated. Not to be the public face of the team’s frustration.

*The Times story censored that quote more, but multiple Twitter sources noted the particular expletive used by Mattingly. Which, laughs aside, I think is kind of important. Those of us who are passionate users of profanity know the subtle differences between various curse words in various contexts. Or at least I hope we do.

Pedro Martinez: “If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him.”

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On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.

Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:

If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.

Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.

Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.

The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.