Dave Roberts has been subject to intense criticism throughout his tenure as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and that historically has gone into overdrive during the postseason.
With the Dodgers now facing a 2-0 deficit in the National League Championship Series, Roberts and the organization have been chastised for various pitching decision; most notably using Julio Urias out of the bullpen in Game 2.
That came three days after the Dodgers used Max Scherzer to convert a save against the San Francisco Giants, which pushed his NLCS start back a day.
“We absolutely have great bullpen. But I think that in the particular case with Max and talking through it with all of our guys if you want to go back to Game 5, we felt that was the best chance to finish that game and it was a leveraged situation and we felt good about winning that game to get to the next round,” Roberts said.
“As far as Julio, just appreciating that it’s a seven-game series and him being a viable option, being open, talking about it, and appreciating that he’s done it before. He’s not the young rookie that I think people can’t get past that.
“Looking at three arms, three innings to cover, he was in that mix. So I just felt that that was the best thing and not compromising Julio’s next start. I don’t think it’s a slight on our bullpen, I don’t, especially in a long series.”
Similar to what unfolded with Scherzer, the Dodgers may delay Urias’ start in the NLCS to allow for more recovery time. The team faced the prospect of another bullpen game regardless of his usage, and thus Urias very well may not next take the mound until a potential Game 5.
Roberts understands criticism
While Roberts has come under fire, the Dodgers are merely one or two hits with runners in scoring position from being up 2-0 on the Atlanta Braves, or at worst tied.
“It’s something that we’ve kind of had to deal with every year as far as kind of the way we go about how we manage a roster or how we go about playing games and using pitchers and things like that,” Roberts said of the seeming never-ending criticism.
“So it’s certainly bleeding in and more magnified in the postseason, which I absolutely understand. But I just don’t think that it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. A decision that doesn’t work out doesn’t mean it’s the wrong decision.
“So I do know that everyone in that clubhouse believes that we’re going about it the right way and no one is compromised. So I think for me, for us, that’s the most important thing. … I think the processes that we go through, the players that we have, I believe in. I believe we’re going to win this series.
“I believe we’re going to win [Tuesday]. I think that that’s the great thing about baseball, man, it’s like, you know it opens things up for kind of second-guessing. It’s not basketball. It’s not a missed shot. It’s not football, a play that wasn’t executed. It’s a lot of different variables that you can kind of think through, second-guess. So we think through a lot.
“There’s things that we know about our players that we just don’t want to share because I think it’s just not smart that also lead to the decisions that we make that, unfairly, fans and media just don’t know and have to have their own opinions and thoughts.”
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