Dave Roberts ‘Trying To Learn’ What Situations Dodgers Relief Pitchers Can Handle

The Los Angeles Dodgers suffered their third consecutive loss on Friday night to the Cincinnati Reds, but L.A. appeared to be relatively in control until they crumbled in the fifth inning.

Dave Roberts needed three pitchers to get through what wound up being a six-run inning. One of those three was Yohan Ramírez, one of the team’s most unfamiliar names in an ever revolving bullpen.

Ramírez had only pitched once for the Dodgers thus far this season, when he tossed two scoreless frames on Tuesday in a losing effort to the Arizona Diamondbacks. So with James Paxton running on fumes and the Dodgers sporting a one-run lead with a man on first and two outs in the sixth inning, Roberts felt he could turn to Ramírez.

The results nowhere near mirrored what he did on Tuesday night. Ramírez hit the first batter he faced, walked the second and hit the third to bring in the game-tying run.

He was removed having loaded the bases, and Alex Vesia gave up a go-ahead grand slam to tally three earned runs on Ramirez’s ledger without recording an out.

Roberts obviously wan unhappy with the result, but he is learning who he can trust in the bullpen, according to Bill Plunkett of The Southern California News Group:

“We’ve had a lot of different guys. That’s just kind of the way it’s played out. No excuse,” a frustrated Roberts said after the game. “I still felt good about him (Friday’s villain, Yohan Ramírez) coming into the game. I really did. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have put him in the game.

“But yeah, you’re still trying to learn guys and what they can and can’t handle, certain situations. When you kind of have that revolving door, that’s part of it. But that’s where we’re at. It’s not an excuse. I’ve got to continue to just learn these guys and put these guys in the best spots to have success.”

The Dodgers manager rebuffed the idea that Ramírez was brought in for a high-leverage situation on Friday:

“With a two-run lead with two outs and a man on first base, I wouldn’t consider that leverage. I really wouldn’t,” Roberts said of trusting Ramirez to get through the inning. “We don’t have anyone that throws with the right hand that’s not low-leverage that can do an up-down (pitch into the next inning). So you’re trying to figure out how to get through the game. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”

Part of the issue for Roberts is that he doesn’t fully know Ramirez and therefore wasn’t sure if he could be trusted in that spot or not:

“I didn’t foresee this at all. He was rested. He’s got to go out there and just do his job. And he didn’t get it done tonight,” Roberts said. “That’s baseball. I’m still trying to learn Yohan. But I still don’t feel it was too much of a leverage spot. I think that was a good spot for him. And we just didn’t get it done tonight.”

The Dodgers bullpen has been a bit of a who’s who all season long amid injuries to several key contributors. And while a big part of a manager’s job is figuring out the bullpen and what buttons to push at what times, that can be a difficult ask when there are new faces constantly.

Roberts can use the events of Friday to formulate better game plans in the future.

Dave Roberts credits pitching coaches for bullpen success

Even after Friday, it has still been an objectively great season for Roberts and company when it comes to the bullpen. And Roberts wanted to ensure that the pitching coaches got their credit for making that happen.

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