Mattingly backs Kershaw's call for 'urgency'

Dodgers' manager confident clubhouse received message from respected ace

Mattingly backs Kershaw's call for 'urgency'

CINCINNATI -- Manager Don Mattingly didn't agree with using the word "panic," but he didn't argue with Clayton Kershaw's Sunday observation that the Dodgers -- in a five-game losing streak before beating the Reds, 5-1, on Tuesday night -- need to pick it up.

Mattingly, in fact, sounded pleased that Kershaw spoke up.

"When Kersh says we should play with panic -- I'd say a sense of urgency -- it tells you that he's not real happy with the urgency we're playing with, or the lack of urgency," said Mattingly.

"I think Kersh is one of our leaders. When he speaks, guys tend to listen to him for the respect they have for him, the way he goes about his business and the way he backs it up on the field. You would hope you have a number of guys that feel the same way, not just Kersh. When you get in tough situations, they're the guys that do things right. Obviously, Kersh is a huge voice."

Kershaw's 10-strikeout start

Mattingly said he was sure the rest of the clubhouse heard Kershaw's message, one Mattingly said he preaches to the club from the first day of Spring Training.

"As a staff, we make sure we're the compass in a sense, making sure where we're going," he said. "A time like this speaks to the character of a club, how you respond to that. You want your team to come out fighting and not say, 'We'll be OK.' Take it as something they're embarrassed by, come out, play hard and right the ship.

"Obviously, we haven't responded very well to this point. The road trip hasn't been very good. The last homestand, we came out of Pittsburgh and the sky was falling. Then we had a good homestand. We lost a tough one in Oakland the first night, and it kind of snowballed on us."

Mattingly said the discussion about callups for next week has begun, but it didn't sound like 19-year-old Julio Urias, the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect, is a high priority in those plans.

Top Prospects: Urias, LAD

"Sometimes we get caught up in the public perception of what we should do with Urias, but those guys [player development department] have a better perception of what we should do," Mattingly said. "He's not one of the guys we probably would see right away. We're talking about two waves of callups, and I don't feel he's in the first wave of guys that can help us."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.