Dave Roberts Doesn’t Believe Teams Are Playing Harder Against Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers spent nearly $1.2 billion this past offseason to add the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow to a roster that was already considered one of the most talented in baseball.

The additions solidified the Dodgers’ standing as the proverbial villains of baseball, which is something they have become accustomed to in recent years.

In his first message to the team during Spring Training, manager Dave Roberts told his players to embrace the target on their backs this year.

The Dodgers have had an up-and-down start to their season, but Roberts does not believe it’s because teams are playing them harder, via SportsNet LA:

“I don’t think so. I think everyone likes to beat the Dodgers. Obviously there’s more fanfare, excitement around our games with Shohei being here. But to be quite honest, I just think we haven’t played really good baseball consistently. So it’s not about other teams’ effort against us. I don’t think that’s changed. I really don’t.”

Given the expectations that have been placed on the Dodgers this season, it is easy to see why some teams may be more motivated to defeat them when they play.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas was critical of the team’s spending spree in free agency and implied that succeeding against them would come with added satisfaction.

Yu Darvish also previously said that the San Diego Padres want to keep up with the Dodgers this season after a disappointing third-place finish in the National League West last year.

The Dodgers are enter play on Friday 33-19 with a 6.5 game lead in the division. Most projection models have L.A. winning the division and exceeding the 100-win mark.

Mookie Betts downplays criticism of Dodgers payroll

After the Dodgers’ offseason spending spree, some fans have suggested the team is trying to buy a World Series title. “I mean, yeah, but if you got it, then you can,” Mookie Betts answered when asked if the critics have a point.

“You do things that other people can’t do, that’s what makes you good, right? That’s what makes people better than the next guy. Because he can hit for more power than the next guy, or he can do this better than the next guy.

“Somebody’s bankroll might be a little bit longer. There’s nothing you can do about it, and it is what it is when they use it. Sorry.”

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