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O' ye of little faith -- Mattingly says these Dodgers have chance to make playoffs

May 17, 2011 |  6:35 pm

Photo: Don Mattingly throws batting practice prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 11. Credit: Charles LeClaire / U.S. Presswire Don Mattingly has a message for all of you getting just a tiny bit down on this year’s Dodgers: It’s going to get better!

He meant this season, too.

"I think we have a chance to be in the playoffs this year," Mattingly said.

Of course, there is the argument that they can’t get much worse, though only four games under .500 going into Tuesday night’s game leaves them room to continue to sink.

Mattingly is convinced several underperforming offensive players will become more productive and the team will get a boost with the return of Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake off the disabled list.

"Four games under .500 is not where we want to be," he said.

"We’re better than this. I really believe that. We’re going to see. We’re going to see if what I believe in, and this team I believe in, if it shows."

Mattingly is paid to say things like this, though he seems to believe it. Furcal comes back, Blake comes back, Marcus Thames comes off the DL, Jonathan Broxton returns strong …

"Obviously I feel we’re going to be a better club as we get back to full strength, the way we kind of came out of spring training, I think we’re going to be a better club," he said.

How much better? Despite their recent woes, the National League West is hardly running away from them. They went into Tuesday only four games back of the Giants. And the Giants are scoring at the same league-low 3.47 runs per game as the Dodgers.

"If we can put some things together, we have a chance to be in the playoffs," he said.

Mattingly is Little Orphan Annie under a baseball cap: "The sun'll come out tomorrow."

Just need some patience. Mattingly has never been a manager before, so maybe there’s a naïve quality there. Or just a public one. Or deep in his baseball soul, he believes.

ALSO:

T.J. Simers: That's a lot of cheese to go see these Dodgers

Left field is a wasteland for the Dodgers

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Don Mattingly throws batting practice prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 11. Credit: Charles LeClaire / U.S. Presswire

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