The Cardinals came to town early this season with a three-game series against the Dodgers over Memorial Day weekend. The Cardinals are always a tough match-up for the Dodgers and proved that by winning the series, 2-1.
Recently, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly attempted to light a fire under his struggling team with some comments he made to the media about his players being held accountable. He got a bit choked up when answering about the fans booing a slumping Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
“I’ll keep believing in those two guys and not give up on them. They’ll both eventually come around,” he said.
“I’m frustrated and upset with my performance,” Kemp said.
Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis felt encouragement from Mattingly’s remarks. “Donny’s comments lit a fire under us and we’re due for some wins.”
Dodger first base slugger Adrian Gonzalez has been hot at the plate. He cracked a two-run homer during the last game of the series after hitting a solo shot the day before. He has started to shine during the tough times.
Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma also found lightening in a bottle during the last game of the series, when he went 4-4 with a single, three doubles, three RBI’s and two runs. Any player on any given night can light up the scoreboard for the Cardinals.
“’Kozmo’ stretched those hits into doubles with smart base-running and help from (third base coach Jose) Oquendo,” said Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny.
Both Oquendo and Matheny experienced great success as former players for the Cardinals. Oquendo at third base and Matheny behind the dish during different eras.
Matheny, playing under former and now retired Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, seems to be carrying the torch and utilizing what he learned from La Russa. They both are good strategists.