Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a catch in center field during the second inning in game one of a doubleheader on May 1, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly must be feeling the weight of the team's $236 million payroll, as he held a closed-door meeting Thursday ahead of a four-game series against the NL West Division leading San Francisco Giants.
The organization won’t say it, but it’s World Series or bust for this team and their 19-17 record and third place standing in the NL West is not cutting it, especially with Mattingly who wouldn’t go into specifics of what was discussed in the meeting other than to say, "We were just talking about our club, where we're going, and how we get there."
Josh Beckett also wouldn’t talk about about what was said and echoed Mattingly sentiments.
“I think (Mattingly) saw some things that we could do better,” Beckett said after the Dodgers 3-1 loss to the Giants in 10 innings. “It was a good meeting and we’ll move forward.”
“Every team I’ve ever been on, I think, you’ve always had to have those come-to-Jesus meetings and not be playing scared,” he added.
The series with the Giants is the Dodgers chance to right the ship against a team they’re likely to run into with a division crown on the line.
The Dodgers have a 12-9 record against all NL West teams, but they’re just 3-7 against the Giants and Rockies, the two teams ahead of them in the standings.
They’ll try to make a run as Mattingly is still figuring out his everyday lineup. It’s become clearer in the past couple of weeks with the emergence of Dee Gordon at second base and Yasiel Puig.
“Yasiel has established himself in right field as pretty much the guy,” Mattingly said.
He also said Matt Kemp will likely be the everyday center fielder. Kemp hit .313 on the just completed nine-game road trip.
The left field spot is still up for grabs.
“(Andre Ethier) and Carl (Crawford) are fighting for playing time,” said Mattingly. Ethier hit .333 on the trip and Crawford hit .367 including a game-winning home run in Miami.
Mattingly predicted early in the season the outfield situation will “work itself out.” It seems like he’s hoping that’s also the case with the entire team.