At one point, the Dodgers might have been two days away from firing manager Don Mattingly, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. That was on June 21, when the Dodgers were 30-42 following their second straight loss to the Padres. Shaikin cites a source saying that if the Dodgers had lost the last two games of that four-game series, they would have dismissed Mattingly. Since then, the Dodgers have got 46-11, and Mattingly appears to be a contender for the NL Manager of the Year award. Here are more notes from out west.
- For the Angels, one of the few bright sides of an awful season is that they now have the opportunity to see which of their zero-to-three players can help in the near future, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez writes. Gonzalez notes that, with several big contracts (Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson) consuming much of their payroll, it's particularly important that the Angels get value out of cost-controlled players. The Angels will look to players like Grant Green, Chris Nelson and Cory Rasmus (all of whom were acquired this year) to see if they might be able to contribute.
- Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo have become friends since being traded for each other in early 2012, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Rizzo says he's rooting for a win-win deal. "I hope [Cashner] has a great career; I hope I have a great career as well," Rizzo says. "There’s no winning or losing this trade. … I hope we both have Hall of Fame careers and everyone’s a winner.”