Two Stupid Decisions by Dave Roberts Lead to Extra Innings Mess

Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually a cheerleader for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, but not tonight. In this first game of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the skipper messed up big time. He made two ridiculous – and monumental – decisions that cost the Dodgers a nine-inning win, and indirectly set the conditions in motion for the horrifying 10th inning collision between Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig.

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In the 8th inning Chase Utley singled and Clayton Kershaw walked. With two men on and two out, Logan Forsythe was due up. While Clayton Kershaw pitched a gem, over on the other side, Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn had pitched just as well.

The big difference between the two pitchers was Yasmani Grandal‘s solo home run. Except for that one hit, Lynn had pretty much owned the Dodgers all night. On top of that, he was Logan Forsythe’s daddy. Lynn struck out Forsythe all three times they faced each other, and here was a golden chance for the Dodgers to bring in a much-needed insurance run.

Daddy Lynn was on the mound. Enrique Hernandez, Brett Eibner and Chris Taylor – all with much hotter bats than ol’ Triple K Forsythe – were all sitting on the bench. Roberts had a decision to make. He made the stupid choice.

He let little lamb Forsythe step in against his daddy. The result was unsurprising. Lynn carved up the little lamb, Forsythe earned a Golden Sombrero, and the Dodgers’ chances went up in smoke.

Stupid Decision 2A: 

Yes, I know Kershaw was brilliant tonight. His curve ball was truly Public Enemy Number One and he was chalking up the strike out stats like a pitching god.

Everyone wanted to see Kersh get a complete game, but there was one problem. He was gassed at he end of the eighth inning. Sure he struck out the side in the eighth, but that last K took a huge toll on Kershaw. For the pitch counters, Kershaw was just over 100 pitches. However, I’m not basing my analysis on the pitch count. I’m using the eye test.

After getting two strikes on Aledmys Diaz, Kersh struggled to find strike three. He tossed two balls that missed, and both pitches looked to be labors, almost like he was trying too hard to force that strike three. Diaz swung at the next pitch and struck out, but he swung at ball four. The ball was in the dirt and Grandal had to block it to keep it from running past him. My eye said Kershaw was kaput, or to be charitable, he was now extremely vulnerable.

Everyone was hoping for a complete game, and Roberts – like Mattingly probably would have done – let his ace make the call. Kershaw went to the mound and the tired pitcher immediately gave up a solid base hit to center field. Here’s where Roberts and his predecessor differ –  Mattingly would have yanked Kershaw and went right to his closer.

Stupid Decision 2B: 

Roberts left Kershaw in the game instead of going for the win with the best closer in baseball –  Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers didn’t have an insurance run to play with. They had a tired pitcher trying to finish a one run game on guts. The next batter grounded out, but he moved the runner into scoring position. Did Roberts go to Jansen then? Nope.

Kershaw’s  wildness from the end of the eighth continued, this time the pitch got by Grandal, and the runner scored, tying the game. The ace eventually completed the inning, but by then, the damage was done. As I type this, their still tied one-one and entering the bad luck number 13 inning.

But bad luck had nothing to do with it. Bad decisions got us to where we are now.



Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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8 thoughts on “Two Stupid Decisions by Dave Roberts Lead to Extra Innings Mess

  1. I think we are now in the part of the season where Kershaw gets minimum run support. Happens every year.

  2. Oscar you are starting to pick up Scott’s mojo reverse jinx voodoo. Forsythe with the walk off promptly after your post!

  3. Oscar, I couldn’t agree more. I said the exact same thing when those two decisions were made. You don’t let a guy who struck out 3x go to bat when runs are on the bases. Period.

    Grandal has made an interesting turnaround, so far, in the sense that he has emerged as an everyday hitter instead of wallowing in a slump. Let’s hope it will continue. It will go a long way towards winning this year.

    Pederson, otoh, seems almost hopeless. This guy doesn’t belong on this roster and its high time someone else was given the chance to start and prove themselves.

    Kershaw was great. Too bad he blew it at the very end.

  4. I agree Oscar. I thought Kersh should have been pulled after the hit. But we do not get to make those calls. Grandal has been very hot. But there is still one area he is not very good at. Blocking balls in the dirt. He has been miserable at that since day 1. He also is not a great clutch hitter as he proved in extra’s tonight. 2 out 2 on and he goes down meekly.

    1. 3 for 41. That’s a team batting average of .073. And we won. Damn.

      I agree- I don’t think Grandal is very good defensively. He never has blocked well and he will always be among league leaders in passed ball because he’s moving his glove in on balls out of the strike zone. He fools umpires by doing this. Yeah. He does. I watched him doing it again last night. If umpires are too stupid to recognize he’s doing it I think it’s on them. Umps I worked with used to laugh at the idea where and how a ball is caught had anything to do with where the pitch was when it passed through the strike zone. Umpires were better then. Grandal is hitting ok now, it’s true. Last year he hit .295 in April/March. He hit .324 in July. He has had good months in the past. The question remains, can he remain consistent throughout the year. I doubt it. But, we’ll see.

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