Don Mattingly is not too caught up in home field advantage

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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.

Angels’ Pujols passes Mays for 5th on homer list with No. 661

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).