It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers rely on their depth like no other organization in Major League Baseball, and that’s been evident throughout the course of the 2018 season. With 16 games left to play, the club has deployed 50 different players on top of 141 unique lineup combinations.
Now in his third season as Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts is no stranger in having to utilize the plethora of talent presented to him by the front office. He often preaches the importance of a team-first mentality, which has convinced a stacked roster from top to bottom to willingly sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
That’s led to consistent mixing and matching on a nightly basis, which some have equated to the Dodgers’ offensive struggles this season. Roberts doesn’t see it that way and believes his method in constructing lineups is the smartest route to take given the club’s deep roster, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“It’s something I believe in. Our players have got to accept it because this is the way it’s gotta be with our roster,” Roberts said. “I know it’s going to turn. We haven’t had (offensive) consistency all year. September, we obviously have a deeper roster but we’ve had these same inconsistencies all year. So it’s not about just September and this sample of September. We haven’t had traction offensively all year as far as consistency. I can’t just say, ‘Now we have more players and we’re playing a right-handed, left-handed lineup. Now this is the reason why,’ because it’s been the same all year.”
As Roberts notes, the Dodgers’ offense has generally struggled to find consistency even before rosters expanded at the start of September. With the month in full swing, the club added even more players to an already-loaded roster in the form of waiver acquisitions and Minor League promotions.
Roberts’ method of fielding a lineup based on matchups has worked in the past and he hopes it ultimately propels the club to a sixth consecutive National League West title when the dust settles two weeks from now.