Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Explains Pedro Baez Decision, Overall Bullpen Usage In Game 2 Loss To Braves

The National League Championship Series has not gotten off to a great start for the Los Angeles Dodgers as they find themselves down 2-0 to the Atlanta Braves.

For the second straight night, the Dodgers’ bullpen faltered and the offense didn’t get going until it was too late, resulting in an 8-7 loss in Game 2.

The fifth inning is really when things got out of control for L.A. with the Braves scoring four runs to extend their lead to 6-0. It was clear that Tony Gonsolin was running out of gas when he walked two and allowed an RBI double before giving way to the bullpen.

Despite a lefty in Freddie Freeman coming up, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to Pedro Baez to escape the jam, which he wasn’t able to. Baez allowed an RBI single to Freeman and then back-to-back walks to push a run in and a sacrifice fly to cap off the rally.

The Dodgers also had a lefty in Adam Kolarek warming up with Baez, but he ultimately didn’t enter until the ninth inning.

“With one out, you don’t want Kolarek to get (batters) after Freeman; whether it’s Acuña or Ozuna,” Roberts explained. “So you’re put in a tough spot with that three-batter rule. Also, I felt Tony was throwing the baseball really well.

“He punches Riley and then it wasn’t a good walk to Markakis. There was a ground-rule double off Pache’s bat. When it’s 3-0 right there, to think about bringing in one of your highest leverage relievers in a three-run deficit, it just doesn’t make sense.

“So right there, feeling [Gonsolin] is still throwing the baseball well, to try to get to Acuña. Pedro has been good for us. Seeing-eye grounder from Freeman, and from that point on he just didn’t execute.”

Roberts didn’t go to some of his high-leverage relievers in the loss, with Brusdar Graterol being one of them. He said that Graterol was available but with his team trailing the whole night, it didn’t make sense to go to him in Game 2.

“It’s one of those when you’re down 3-0 in the fifth inning, I’m not going to use a high-leverage guy right there,” Roberts said.

The same can be said for Blake Treinen, who was also getting loose during that nightmare fifth inning.

“He was up for Acuña. Once Pache got the double, I just felt 2-0 in that situation, if we could’ve got Pache out or kept Markakis from scoring, then it makes more sense to potentially get a double play to get out of that inning and keep it a two-run deficit,” Roberts explained.

“In my opinion, once it got to three, I didn’t want Blake in that game in the fifth.”

After Baez, Dylan Floro, Jake McGee, Alex Wood, Joe Kelly and Kolarek all pitched in Game 2 to get through nine innings.

That means Treinen, Graterol and Victor Gonzalez will all be well-rested for Game 3 and beyond, which Roberts believes is an advantage.

“I think we did a good job of getting other guys in there to get their feet wet in this series, to not stress them and them be available in the coming days,” he noted. “You just can’t play every game, regardless of score, like it’s life or death, in a seven-game series.”

Roberts managing Game 3 with more urgency?

Only one team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit in Major League history, so Game 3 is essentially a must-win game for the Dodgers, and Roberts is more inclined to treat it as such.

“Obviously game situation, game score matters, and who you’re going to use if you’re referencing relief pitchers. But yeah, the more you feel like you’re in a deficit as far as the series goes, you have to make that decision,” he acknowledged.

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