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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Dodgers at loss to explain losses

Johnson’s job could be in jeopardy after two seasons in L.A.

September 23, 2000

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— Barring an incredible comeback in the season's final week, the Los Angeles Dodgers' streak without a postseason victory is about to reach 12 years.

It wasn't supposed to be this way after the News Corp.'s Fox Group bought the Dodgers from the O'Malley family 21/2 years ago and quickly became one of baseball's biggest spenders.

Manager Davey Johnson thinks that the failure to win will cost him his job after just two seasons.

"Nobody feels worse than me," said Johnson, who entered this season with a .567 winning percentage in 13 years as a major league manager. "I understand somebody's got to take the blame. I've got big shoulders. I haven't won. That's the bottom line."

After Kevin Brown, Chan Ho Park and Darren Dreifort, the starting pitching has been dreadful. And the Dodgers have committed the second-most errors in the majors.

"The fourth and fifth starters never materialized to keep us in ball games," Johnson said.

"A lot of that has to do with us catching and throwing the ball," outfielder Shawn Green said.

Entering Friday, Los Angeles starters other than the big three had combined to go 10-25 with a 6.44 ERA.

The signing of Orel Hershiser didn't work out; Carlos Perez was ineffective for the second straight season; and rookie Eric Gagne clearly wasn't ready.

"There are better teams out there right now," said infielder Kevin Elster, who played for Johnson's New York Mets when they won the 1986 World Series. "The Giants are better than any team right now, save the Braves."

Elster is one of several players who came to the defense of Johnson, who has one year remaining in the three-year contract he signed before the 1999 season.

"He's absolutely the best manager I've ever played for," Elster said.

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