The Dodgers bowed out of the playoffs a bit prematurely, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in six games in the National League Championship Series. As soon as the Dodgers’ season ended, manager Don Mattingly was fighting to keep his job.
Mattingly took much of the blame for the Dodgers’ disappointing end to the season. He was second-guessed for in-game managing decisions, pinch running Dee Gordon for Adrian Gonzalez, starting Clayton Kershaw on short rest, sticking with Hanley Ramirez and his broken ribs.
Mattingly will be back for another season. He and the Dodgers agreed to extend his contract for one more year. It also looks like the Dodgers are going to make an effort to get younger and healthier in 2014.
One move that looks like it will transpire is the emergence of Alexander Guerrero at second base. The Cuban infielder signed a reported four-year, $28 million deal with the Dodgers. That almost guarantees the Dodgers won’t ask Mark Ellis to return.
It’s the right move to make, despite the stellar season Ellis turned in. Guerrero was an all star in Cuba’s top league in 2010 and 2011. He can play second base and shortstop. Plus he is younger and stronger than anyone else on the Dodgers roster who can play second base.
So long, Ellis.
Another position that will see some turnover for the Dodgers is third base. Juan Uribe is a free agent. He played third base that was Gold Glove worthy. He had arguably the biggest hit for the Dodgers in the playoffs, a two-run, game-winning home run against the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
With the season Uribe had, he will seek a multi-year contract. The Dodgers don’t need an aging third baseman with a multi-year contract. They need a player to hold down the fort at third base until 19-year-old Corey Seager is ready take over.
So long, Uribe.
From the looks of things, Andre Ethier might be on his way out too. He filled in admirably in centerfield when Matt Kemp had to sit out with injuries. Ethier gutted out playing with an injured ankle in the playoffs. His grit and willingness to move positions increased his trade value. With that, coupled with Carl Crawford and Kemp’s injury history, Ethier has the most trade value on the Dodgers.
According to reports, there are teams interested in Ethier. Don’t be surprised if the Yankees, Rangers or Mariners make an offer for Ethier.
So, until spring training, so long, Dodgers.
The Foothill League football picture is starting to come into focus.
Hart is the top dog, undefeated at 8-0 overall, 3-0 in league. The Indians are ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division, a spot they have held since the season started.
They have outscored their Foothill League opponents, 137-40. But their toughest two tests are coming up.
Hart plays Valencia on Friday night. The Indians end the Foothill League season against Canyon, the No. 5 ranked team in the Southern Section Northern Division.
The Vikings are the only other team with an undefeated Foothill League record. They are 3-0 and are coming off a surprising, 35-28, come-from-behind victory over Canyon last week.
Valencia has won the past four Foothill League championships. They are ranked No. 4 in the Southern Section Northern Division and might be the only team to challenge Hart in the Foothill League.
Canyon has played two rough games in a row. The Cowboys blew a 22-point, second-half lead against the Vikings on Friday night. They barely beat Saugus, 23-20, in the previous week.
They have West Ranch on deck. The Wildcats are coming off their first win of the season, a 31-0 shutout against a depleted Golden Valley team.
But a win’s a win. Now that West Ranch has its first win out of the way, they will be looking to jump back into the playoff picture with another win over Canyon.
West Ranch earned some respect early in the season when the Wildcats were in the top 10 in the Northern Division poll. The Wildcats fell out when the Foothill League season started.
While Hart and Valencia are battling for first place in the Foothill League, the game at the bottom of the standings will be equally as interesting.
Saugus plays Golden Valley on Friday night. Both teams have yet to win a game in league this year. Saugus has at least been competitive, save for last week’s 38-3 loss to Hart.
Golden Valley has never won a Foothill League game in its school history. Friday night should be no different. The Grizzlies had a chance with a healthy Terry Tamura, who once led the Foothill League in rushing.
But he is out with a broken collar bone. It would take a miracle for Golden Valley to pull off an upset.
The Hart girls tennis team completed an undefeated Foothill League season with an 18-0 shutout over Canyon.
The Hart girls are ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 poll and have a perfect 17-0 record this season.
The Golden Valley girls golf team won the Foothill League championship, its first in school history. The Golden Valley girls won the final Foothill League match of the season with a team score of 226 at the TPC Valencia.
Elisa Pierre from Golden Valley won the final league match on the second playoff hole against West Ranch’s Ashley Mayhall. Both girls shot 39s to set up the playoff. Pierre birdied the second playoff hole, while Mayhall made a bogey.
Golden Valley and West Ranch qualified for the CIF Southern Section girls golf team playoffs.
Hart’s Katie Corr, Valencia’s Eunice Song, West Ranch’s Kate Caffrey, Golden Valley’s Justine Reblando and Hart’s Lauren Yi, along with Pierre and Mayhall, qualified for the Southern Section girls golf individual playoffs.
Nascar’s Local Connection
Canyon High graduate Greg Pursley won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield on Saturday night. It was his series-leading fifth win of the season.
Pursley is in second place in the K&N Pro Series West standings with one race to go, the season finale at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 9.
He won the West Series championship in 2011. But he trails Derek Thorn by 16 points in the K&N Pro Series West standings.
Tim Haddock is the sports director at KHTS AM 1220. He writes for the SCV Beacon, the Ventura County Star, the Team USA website and covers auto racing for the K&N website. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.