Dodgers, and manager Mattingly, again under scrutiny
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Having again failed to reach the World Series with Major League Baseball's biggest payroll, the Los Angeles Dodgers face intense scrutiny over the coming days with manager Don Mattingly's position looking tenuous.
The Dodgers' 3-2 loss to the New York Mets in the decisive fifth game of the National League Division Series on Thursday marked the second season in a row they have exited the playoffs at the first hurdle.
While they have reached the postseason three times during Mattingly's five years in charge and have won three straight NL West titles, they have clinched just one playoff series in that span.
For diehard Dodgers fans, that is barely worth celebrating given that their team's record payroll increased to more than $300 million for this season, consequently driving their lofty expectations for the 'The Boys in Blue' even higher.
Mattingly has achieved a .551 winning percentage, better than any Dodgers manager since Walter Alston, but of the four managers in Los Angeles with at least 10 postseason games in the last 60 years, he is the only one with a losing record (8-11).
For Mattingly, there was no way "to soften that blow" after the Dodgers were ultimately outplayed by the Mets in their best-of five NL Division Series.
"It's just disappointing," Mattingly said after a Game Five that was decided by Daniel Murphy's go-ahead home run in the sixth inning.
"There are really no words to describe how you feel. You come to Spring Training, you work all winter, you scratch, you fight all year long to get into this situation and you have a chance. Continued...