Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Takes Blame For Trying To Have Zach McKinstry Pitch

With the Los Angeles Dodgers in the final stretch of playing 31 games in 30 days and trailing the New York Mets by five runs, manager Dave Roberts attempted to have Zach McKinstry pitch the ninth inning on Saturday.

However, umpires prevented McKinstry from so much as warming up, and it led to a delay over confusion of MLB rules as the Dodgers asked the umpiring crew to check with the league office. Crew chief C.B. Bucknor then announced McKinstry was not permitted to pitch due to the Dodgers only trailing by five runs.

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter did not protest McKinstry attempting to take the mound.

“It’s a rule that obviously is in place for 2022. They were talking about it in ’20, I think. And last year we used it and they said it’s been implemented for a couple of years,” Roberts explained after the loss.

“But with that, Justin (Turner) pitched in a minus-five run game last year. So obviously they relaxed that rule last year. And so things have been kind of a goalpost that has been moving a lot. It’s an oversight on my part.

“But I do recall that we did it last year, and they kind of had to confer to make sure that it was the case. They got it right, the umpires. And it was an oversight on my part.”

Under current MLB rules for the 2022 season, only pitchers and designated two-way players are allow to take the mound in a game that’s within five runs or fewer.

When Justin Turner pitched a scoreless inning last season, the Dodgers were trailing 5-0 at the start of the ninth.

Why did Dave Roberts want Zach McKinstry to pitch?

Since being hired as Dodgers manager before the 2016 season, Roberts has regularly emphasized playing every pitch regardless of the scenario. That philosophy seemingly went against his decision to call on McKinstry in a game the Dodgers only trailed by five runs.

“Well it’s more kind of looking at what probability we have to win that game, to save an arm to win the series,” Roberts explained. “Ideally, I would like to have Evan for two (innings) [Sunday]. I’m still trying to manage to win a series and not just to keep the game close.”

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