No matter how many times we've seen this team have various positives , there's always been a charcoal lining in 2013. In the month of May there has been only one unavoidable truth: The Dodgers lose.
It's like watching a sad movie you've seen before. You know it's gonna suck soon but you sacrifice your well being to see the entire thing through. You sit in front of your TV for hours while the few happy parts entertain you and remind you why you love this movie, all the while distracting you from the inevitable unhappy conclusion that you somehow forgot about completely.
The Dodgers 21st loss of the season was their 8th consecutive heartbreak of the month. An all too familiar result for a franchise that has lost any semblance of home field advantage in 2013. Their 7-12 home record at Chavez Ravine is the 3rd worst in the entire MLB and is the only home record in their division below .555. In a division that has annually become a tightly contested dog fight, the Dodgers (13-21) have already put themselves at the back of the pack and on a leash. 2nd best On Base Percentage in the sport, 2nd lowest run total... alot of bark, no bite.
In a year where the front office was curiously mum on the status of Don Mattingly, they have become even more non committal as the mounting losses have shaken the confidence of everyone including the man himself during his unsettling post game interviews. While president Stan Kasten refuses to show his cards, I cant help but think hes already made up his mind to keep things the way they are. If it didnt look as if Mattingly was on the hot seat after last season, he sure must be now. When it comes to Donnie Baseball the prevailing sentiment is that he's a pretty calm guy that doesn't lose his cool when things get tough (MVP's tend to be that way). Most notably, players love to play for him. But considering they haven't ever been a team with the clutch gene or one that has gotten even remotely close to playoff contention since he took the reigns, it's a curious sentiment...
Jon Heyman put it perfectly when he tweeted:
#dodgers players love donnie baseball, but have funny way of showing it. team cant hit w/ risp. 7 straights Ls. down 5-3.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 11, 2013
After this tweet, AJ Ellis did his AJ-thing and had an RBI single in the 8th inning, but like we've all come to expect was stranded at 3rd base when Dee Gordon grounded out to end the threat, and essentially the Dodgers evening. And on an night where all the emotional debris floats to the surface of our collective Dodger-conscious, the exhale comes a little easier knowing that it can't get much worse.
And now you're thinking ...
"Oh really Reis? It's always darkest before the dawn?! Thats all you've got for us!? The most pessimistic Dodger fan on twitter is gonna conclude his once-a-month blog post with the 'hey it has to get better' mantra?!!??!!??"
You'll be happy to know that this 8-game losing streak has only strengthened my jaded thoughts to new heights. This year's combination of health issues, lack of clutchness, and head scratching roster management has left me both angry and happy at the same time. A bizarre malaise of numbness and frustration that allows me to turn on Dodger games each night to cap my day with a torturous act of self loathing.
As anyone who follows me knows, I'm still concerned with whether Don Mattingly is the guy who can get this team to the promise land based upon his unsuccessful albeit brief run as dodgers skipper. The front office has painstakingly clung to the "let's see what he can do with a healthy roster", while the court of public opinion is that eventually this falls on the players.
Regardless of what or who is to blame... (I say it's the depth issues brought on by Ned Colletti's apparent lack for long term vision) the point is that the sad movie has played 8 nights in a row. I haven't been able to turn it off and it's getting to the point where I'm not even noticing the good parts anymore (yea... I had to be informed by Vin Scully Matt Kemp has a 9-game hitting streak going on).
Well respected sports psychologist and good friend Dr. Kenneth Hartline tweeted a nice little uplifting note my way this evening:
Which brings me to my final point... This is rock bottom. It's not as cold as I'd though it'd be... Wait never mind. Booze gives a false sense of warmth.