Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Los Angeles Dodgers writer Mark Saxon will stop by to chat some baseball.
Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.
Send your questions now and join Saxon Thursday at 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET!
Mark Saxon (6:01 PM)
Hot day at Dodger Stadium today. Dodgers are just startin gto take some early batting practice. Let's get to it before a pivotal series, obviously.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
By Looking at the 2013 Major League Baseball Schedule will the Dodgers face the Yankees in Both Dodger Stadium & Yankee Stadium?
Mark Saxon (6:03 PM)
Chris, Yes, actually they will. Should be fun.
Mario M. NORWALK, CA [via mobile]
Mark what the heck is going on with the dodgers?
Mark Saxon (6:07 PM)
How much time you got? Actually, it's pretty simple. They can't hit right now. It's kind of do or die over the next few days here.
Hugh (Newport Beach, CA)
Where is the leadership in the clubhouse? Don can only do so much. Do you think the team has a true veteran team leader? Kemp, Ethier, and Hanley are content and give no signs of being team leaders, Gonzalez is new, and Kershaw is a kid. The Dodgers will go nowhere untilmthey find a leader...
Mark Saxon (6:09 PM)
Yeah, Hugh, there might be something to this. I know the Dodgers have had some players only meetings, but I don't know who called them or what was said. Those things tend to be hush-hush where the media is concerned. I would imagine Kemp is the leader by virtue of being the longest-tenured and best player. I can't tell you what his leadership style is or whether it's good or bad. If they win, it will look like they have great leadership.
Mario M. NORWALK, CA [via mobile]
I believe that all these trades we did was worth it in the long run. but if we dont get the wild card is mattenly gone?
Olivia Garcia (Buena Park)
The Dodgers have really struggled as of late to put runs on the board, despite what looks to be "on paper" a productive line-up. Why do you think this is and do you think they will "snap" out of it in time to make a run for the play-offs? Also why do you think Matt Kemp is struggling so much right now. Do you really think it could be because of his recent collision with the wall in Colorado?
Mark Saxon (6:14 PM)
Hey Olivia, you're right. It does look productive on paper. I can't answer that definitively, but hitters seasons tend to be cyclical and these team funks occur when almost everyone is cold at the same time. I saw this in April with the Angels. When the Angels finally got going, they killed the ball for four solid months. The Dodgers just have to hope they have enough time.
Are you behind the scenes with the team? I am really wondering how hurt Matt Kemp must be. Watching him dive for the ball yesterday in the outfield and after making the catch taking extra time to get up while wincing in pain made me think that this is alot worse than anyone is making it out to be. He did make a fantastic catch and throw to nail a runner at the plate the day before, but his lack of production makes me think that he is more seriously injured. Thoughts?
Mark Saxon (6:16 PM)
Noah, I am behind the scenes with the team, but reporters are not permitted in the trainer's room. I think you are right that Matt is more badly hurt than he is letting on. The problem with baseball and injuries is they play the game every day, so your body doesn't have time to heal. Matt feels an obligation to play and I'm sure he's giving it what he's got, but the question the team has to always ask is whether that's better than what his replacement could provide. They still think it is.
Scott (Marina del Rey)
Mattingly, somewhat of a media favorite and even liked by the fans until recently, has shown himself to be outmatched in these close games, time and time again. As things stand now, what are the chances he DOESN'T come back, and if he does (which he probably will), is there any reason to hope he'll improve tactics next season (relentless sacrifice bunting, AJ in the 8th spot, etc. etc.)?
Mark Saxon (6:18 PM)
Scott, Of course there is a chance Don doesn't come back. The team has new owners who spent a lot (yes, understatement) of money. They'll decide whether he's the guy they think can lead a star-studded team in the coming years at the end of the year. I haven't noticed him being out-managed frequently, but bear in mind that it's hard to look good with the bench that he has.
Jeff (Phoenix, AZ)
How much blame should Mattingly get for this horrible performance?
Mark Saxon (6:20 PM)
Almost none, but coaches and managers tend to be the button owners and GMs can push when they really feel the need for change. So, in a way, it doesn't matter how much he deserves. He'll probably get some. It sounds like he's already taking heat from the fans. Just remember, he hasn't had a single at-bat in this cold stretch. If they had Mattingly circa 1988 they might not have this problem.
Eddie (San Diego)
Give me some news in regards to Jansen. When is he coming back?
Mark Saxon (6:21 PM)
He'll be back Tuesday in Washington, provided he doesn't have a serious complication with his atrial fibrillation that requires him to stay on blood thinners. I think Kenley will be OK. I really do.
Travis Smith (Goleta, California)
Why are the Dogders playing so flat right now? Its like they have no fire at all.
Mark Saxon (6:24 PM)
Travis, I don't know but I do have a theory. I think with so many star-caliber hitters in their lineup, too many players are trying to be heroes and hit a home run or a double that turns the team's fortunes. What they need is more grinding at-bats with guys just trying to get on base and pass the baton.
TURN ON AUTO UPDATE
Mark Saxon (6:24 PM)
Nice name and I turned it on a while ago.
Ryan T. (Westchester, CA)
why is Mattingly sticking with the same crummy lineup? Has he thought of putting Victorino back on top with maybe Andre or Hanley hitting 2nd? They need to shake it up somehow...
Mark Saxon (6:26 PM)
Actually, Ryan, he's trying something new today. He flip-flopped Andre Ethier and Shane Victorino in the lineup, so Ethier now is batting second. I thought he might try moving the furniture around to see what could happen. This isn't drastic, but it's something. Probably the right time for it after they got shut down in Arizona.
Mark Saxon (6:28 PM)
Very good chat this week, we got through it in 30 minutes and I have plenty of time to go to the clubhouse and bring further news to everybody on our blog.Best,Mark