Most people knew it was because of injuries, and the fact that guys, for whatever reason, just weren’t connecting with the ball.
However, through it all, Stan Kasten and the front office put up a strong front for the fans and media, saying that Don Mattingly was not going to lose his job.
That wasn’t what was going on behind closed door though.
The Dodgers’ manager talked about that trying time, saying:
"Stan was really honest. He didn't want to do anything but he said, 'Donnie, at some point I got to do something.’ I understood it. I was fine with that. I understand. At some point you need a change of voice, a different voice. If they're not listening and it's not going good, you got to be make a change just to make a change. You could be doing the best job you could possibly do and it wouldn't make a difference. I get it. I got that... I told him I understood. It was good. I didn't mind it because it was honest and he wasn't trying to make me feel better. He was basically telling me the truth. I just understood. I understand baseball."
Luckily for Mattingly, Yasiel Puig came to the rescue, both helping the Dodgers win, firing up the fans, and sparking something within the clubhouse.
Few people would tell you that Donnie Baseball was doing a bad job of managing during that rough first half of the season. A manager can’t make a guy’s bat hit a ball, and he can’t prevent injury.
Still, when a team isn’t responding, sometimes something new is exactly what’s needed. In this instance, the new thing was a player.
In a matter of months, the boys in blue have gone from being 30-42 to fighting back into the number one spot in the NL West.