Dave Roberts Made Some Mistakes During The Dodger’s Torturous 15-Inning Loss, Let’s Discuss

Dodger’s manager Dave Roberts is a great manager; actually he’s one of the best in baseball. But even the best have bad games or make poor calls from time to time. Nobody is exempt from making mistakes, and nobody is perfect. The thing is it is ok to point out some lame decisions from the skipper once in a while. On Monday night he made a couple of puzzlers.

If you stayed up late enough to watch the Dodgers lose to the Dbacks in 15 innings deep into Monday evening then you probably went to bed angry. The Dodgers had a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning when elite closer Kenley Jansen was brought into the match to record the final three outs. He couldn’t, walking two and serving up a game-tying three run home run to Chris Owings. The game went into extra innings and here’s where the skipper’s calls had the biggest impact.

The bats did their jobs scoring seven runs on 19 hits. Wilmer Font pitched his heart out despite giving up the walk-off hit to Jeff Mathis in the bottom of the fifteenth frame. You can’t pin the loss on them because it shouldn’t have come to that. This was a winnable game if the skipper had made different decisions.

The first problem was the usage of the relievers. I know it’s a catch-22 because you want to go for the jugular when you have the lead. Being aggressive is a good thing most of the time but at rare times it can bite you in the behind. There are moments in games when a conservative approach is called for.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

If you burn through all of your relievers before the ninth inning and the game goes into extras then you’ll run into big problems. That was made obvious when the Dodgers had used almost every reliever before the ninth inning (except for Kenley, Ross Stripling and Font) and then when the game went into extras had to rely on the last pitcher in the bullpen, which is Wilmer Font.

Yes I know if Kenley does his job and gets that last out in the ninth inning then Font never has to pitch. But why not err on the side of caution and save a reliever or two for later in the game just in case. If you don’t waste relievers to get one or two outs then you can lengthen the game, and if it goes into extra innings like the one of Monday evening did then you have an extra reliever or two to fall back on.

Even the wasteful use of J.T. Chargois and Tony Cingrani affected the outcome of the game. If one of those guys hadn’t been wasted (Chargois was brought in for one out in the seventh inning for no reason) the end result may have been different. Stripling was pinch-hit for after just one inning, but I’ll get to that in a second. This is a prime example of the Dodger’s philosophy of using a lot of relievers for short stints was probably not the best of decisions. The Dodgers needed length later in the game and didn’t have the pitchers available for that. There are times when games do go extra innings and you have to be able to look at that possibility. Preparation is key.

The worst call came in the top of the eleventh inning. With the score still tied Cody Bellinger had led off the inning with a single. With nobody out and the pitcher’s spot due up, the Dodgers used their last available hitter off the bench Kyle Farmer to bat for Ross Stripling. Farmer came to the plate with a chance to put the Dodgers ahead, and if he had been given the option of swinging the bat perhaps he would have and the Dodgers probably win.

Yet Roberts called for Farmer to sacrifice Bellinger to second base for some odd reason. Here’s the kicker, the count was 3-1. Even if you don’t believe that Stripling could have done the job, why waste a potential hit, (your last available hitter) especially when the count was 3-1. Of course Farmer bunted out changing the entire inning. If Farmer walks then the Dodgers have two on with none out. Why take the bat out of Farmer’s hands with the potential to take the lead? Maybe Farmer gets a hit, or even homers? He never got that chance and the Dodgers didn’t score in that frame.

Again this is just observations from a writer and armchair manager. I’m not the one in the dugout having to make those choices under fire. The game moves quickly, I understand this. There is no question that Dave Roberts knows more about baseball than me. A lot more. However there is no reason not to point out other paths that could have led to the Dodgers winning. Hindsight is always 20/20 but less wasteful pitching changes and not bunting can lead to success.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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25 thoughts on “Dave Roberts Made Some Mistakes During The Dodger’s Torturous 15-Inning Loss, Let’s Discuss

  1. I am convinced that Roberts over managed this game. He has a history of doing this. People sometimes blame sabermetrics but I blame Roberts. With a 3 run lead, he really did not need Jansen. I know they like to start innings clean but if the current pitcher is doing well, why not stay with him? Going forward I bet he thinks about it. Plus using pitchers for an out or two is crazy. The relief crew did a good job except Jansen.

  2. Good observations, Scott. Roberts is typically challenged when making calls using the bullpen. He doesn’t seem to think out all the implications and makes knee-jerk moves that he might think might be clever like using Chargois for one out. Personally, I don’t know why people think so highly of him as a strategic manager. I see few signs of his ability to utilize the players at maximum advantage consistently throughout the year. Luckily, we are a very deep team but the danger of being democratic in the liberal use of the full roster is ridiculous. These are pros, conditioned for the long haul, wanting to play consistently and not yanked out of games for no good reason but to allow another to get some playing time. Getting in to a game for 1 at bat does nothing for a batter or a pitcher to face one batter. I believe in winning your job through performance and running with that choice.

    1. I think one of the keys was his using Farmer as a pinch hitter for the pitcher and asking him to bunt. What a stupid move. Stripling is pretty good with the stick and can bunt. Wasting your last position player like that is STUPID.

    2. Another inept effort from Roberts. Quite often he overmanages and is outmanaged by the opposing dugout, ie Houston in the WS.

      At least we know what to expect from Jansen. Yikes I’m glad he is big and strong so he can deal with the 5 gal gas can he keeps dragging with him to the mound.

      Dodgers motto in 2018 “Finding new ways to lose, Go Blue!”

      1. Right on the button Blue….Gas Can Kenley has discovered a HR pitch ala Fields and Baez of last year….maybe they can trade for Morrow.

        1. Mr. Norris
          I believe there is a sentiment out there that thinks that loss of velocity is OK. Pitch to contact or whatever, or pitch just to spots, they believe but I am convinced that when velocity goes down, so does the pitcher which is my concern for both Kersh and Kenley. I hope they do not think it is alright. Gotta have zip.

          1. Loss of velocity from the closer is a big deal. Loss of command along with it is a potential disaster. It will be addressed.

            I’m not gonna be as critical of Roberts today. That game was managed to victory. 3 run lead with Jansen coming in? That’s take a knee time. He does some weird things but he knows his team. He’s got a pretty good record after 2 years. .599 win %. Better than Sparky , Tommy and Earl Weaver. Not as good as Joe McCarthy though. Nobody is as good as McCarthy.

          2. Badger…all time Dodger PCT leaders are Charlie Dressen and Burt Shotton who are both over .600.

  3. Using up your bench is easy when there are only 4 guys on the bench. Kershaw couldn’t be asked to lay a bunt?

    But using up an 8 man bullpen is comical.

    What a strange season so far. But one thing still holds we already called up a pitcher from AAA.

    1. Dbacks have hit 6 off him in the last two games. They ain’t skeered.

      Maybe he’s tipping his pitches.

      Brenly and Bart are referring to the humidor being used this year. Apparently the balls aren’t traveling as far as they usta did.

      Ryu didn’t finish 4. If you aren’t going to use your long man then, it means you could easily use 5 to get to Jansen. This is how this team is built. Don’t be surprised to see the pen a lot this year. This isn’t just Roberts. It’s the FAZ construct.

      1. Badger
        Both HRs Kershaw has allowed were hit way out. I guess the Humidor isn’t working too good on their left handed hitters. A couple of the Dodger hitters really hit the ball hard and they died.

    2. Package

      Pitch to contact is better, if you are not giving up hard contact, because that allows a pitcher to throw less pitches, and can keep a pitcher in the game longer.

      Strike outs, take a lot more pitches.

    1. Package

      After that happened, I thought of you, at least Kershaw’s velocity is back up.

      I remember a time that Kershaw wouldn’t give up a hit to a leftie hitter, and that was only two or three years ago, so these two HRs from lefties is unusual.

  4. I believe Sherzer gave up the most HRs in the National League, and he actually won the Cy Young that year, because of all his other numbers.

  5. I think it is a little too early to close the curtains on Kershaw and Kenley. Just their muscle memories are probably good for some wins this year.

    This was a typical under-achieving loss that the bats should share in. We can’t put all the blame on the pitching, although putting Alexander in was a questionable call to me. Kershaw can certainly pitch longer and would have had a chance for a win. Unless he pulled himself out, you let him keep the ball.

    1. It took Kershaw 97 pitches to get through 6. It took Alexander 27 to get one out.

      Put this one in the rear view mirror and move on.

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