Sarah's Take: Mattingly isn't the problem in LA

Upgraded pitching staff needed for postseason success

Sarah's Take: Mattingly isn't the problem in LA

The Los Angeles Dodgers season concluded with a with a 3-2 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday night in Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

It would be simple to blame a Dodgers' player or manager Don Mattingly for the disappointing failure in the NLDS, but the Mets simply outplayed the Dodgers -- who had a better record during the regular season. Many Dodgers' fans on social media want President Andrew Friedman to fire Mattingly for not meeting expectations. However, thiat isn't the answer to the clubs' postseason woes.

Although the Dodgers' failure to advance to the NLCS for the second consecutive year is a cause for concern, firing Mattingly probably won't change it at all. He has done everything he can to help make the Dodgers a winner, and a 92-win season is terrific.

After Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Dodgers' starting rotation doesn't have anyone else that is excellent. During the offseason, the Dodgers' front office must retain Greinke, who can opt out of his contract. Brett Anderson, a free agent, is usually satisfactory, but if he wants too much money to stay with the Dodgers, the team should let him walk.

The Dodgers can't count on either Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder surgery) or Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) to be ready for the beginning of the regular season and Mike Bolsinger is a good fifth starter, but the Dodgers should be able to do better. Carlos Frias showed promise as a starter before the All-Star break, but after the break he couldn't pitch because of back problems. The Dodgers' Minor League system supposedly has many terrific young starters, but they aren't ready to come up to the Major Leagues.

The Dodgers need to have better middle relief to rest their starters a little for the postseason. The front office must be willing to spend money on improving the pitching staff before the Dodgers will advance to the NLCS.

Neither Kershaw nor Greinke should be blamed for postseason failure. Both pitched well and would have won their starts with more offensive support. The Dodgers lost the series in Game 3 when neither Anderson nor the bullpen could hold down the Mets.

Allowing 13 runs during a postseason game builds confidence in the opposition. Despite Kershaw's Game 4 masterpiece on Tuesday, the Mets never lost that newfound confidence and it enabled them to beat Greinke in front of a noisy sell-out crowd at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.

At no point during the series did the Dodgers offense perform the way it should. Justin Turner, who started the season as a bench player, was the offensive star for the Dodgers, but couldn't do everything by himself. Although the Dodgers led the National League in home runs during the regular season, they only hit two in the NLDS. The Dodgers often had runners on base, but couldn't capitalize on those scoring opportunities.

Many Dodgers fans ask why Mattingly doesn't sacrifice more, but why should he? Giving up an out to move a runner into scoring position has never made sense to many baseball people, unless a pitcher is hitting.

Although the Dodgers are a fastball-hitting team, they couldn't hit either Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard's fastballs. The Dodgers need to improve their situational hitting, a problem that plagued the team for the entire season. A healthy Yasiel Puig should help the offensive production and if Joc Pederson learns to shorten his swing and make more regular contact, it will also enable the Dodgers to score more runs.

Playing Corey Seager and Enrique Hernandez regularly will also help generate more enthusiasm and offense. Jimmy Rollins probably won't be back with the Dodgers. Hopefully A.J. Ellis, who has the lowest catching ERA in the Major Leagues since 2008, will receive more playing time in 2016 even though Yasmani Grandal has more power than Ellis.

Unless the Dodgers address their pitching problems, they won't experience much success in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see what offseason moves the Dodgers make.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.