In our final installment for the Dodgers team grades, I’ll be evaluating Dave Roberts for his managing decisions for the past month of May.
Roberts led the Dodgers to an excellent 19-9 (.679) record during the month of May including outscoring opponents 159 to 93 through 28 games. The performance of the team led to the boys in blue recapturing first place in the NL West for the first time since the first week of April.
Overall the club was able to gain two games on the Diamondbacks and further established themselves as the cream of the crop in the National League, having the best record in the NL and second-best record to only the Astros.
So how much credit does Dave Roberts deserve for this?
Well, based on the Dodgers situational stats, Roberts looks to have pressed all the right buttons for the team during May. The Dodgers hit .385 with one home run and five doubles in pinch hitting situations, showing that Roberts was calling upon the right players to come off the bench.
To go along with this stat line, the Dodgers hit .348 with runners in scoring position showing improvement from an abysmal April. These improved situational statistics were a big reason why the Dodgers had an MLB-leading +66 run differential during the month of May.
While Roberts deserves credit for the improved situational statistics, Roberts also deserves credit for managing the playing time of perhaps the best hitters on the team this past month with Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger.
Coming into May Taylor and Bellinger were not supposed to be a part of the Dodgers MLB roster. But injuries forced their way to the roster and their production forced Roberts’ hand to find more playing time.
Due to all the injuries, Roberts was able to find them consistent playing time and led to Cody Bellinger winning NL Rookie of the Month and Chris Taylor hitting .322 with two home runs and 16 RBI. Speaking of injuries, Roberts led the Dodgers to an NL-best month without Justin Turner, Logan Forsythe, Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez.
These injuries opened up spots for Taylor, Utley, and Bellinger who all had their best months of the season and contributed heavily to the team’s success in May. Without Roberts’ influence on the front office to keep Taylor and Bellinger in the majors they may not have stayed in the majors for the entire month and become the focal part of the team that they are today.
More from Dodgers Way
- Justin Turner reveals why Dodgers declined his 2023 team option
- 3 destinations for Cody Bellinger if Dodgers non-tender him
- Dodgers can’t be scared of Cody Bellinger free agency interest if non-tendered
- Baseball voters lost the plot with Dodgers’ Julio Urías Cy Young snub
- Would Dodgers pay Max Scherzer price for Justin Verlander?
But moving on from the fantastic performance of the offense, let’s analyze Roberts’ management of the pitching staff. The Dodgers used seven different starters during May. Those seven starting pitchers accumulated a modest 3.67 ERA during May with a 14-6 record in 158 innings pitched.
During May Roberts saw every one of his starting pitchers for the exception of Clayton Kershaw land on the DL. Towards the end of May, however, Roberts had to juggle a six-man rotation when the starting pitching arms began to get healthier. Roberts managed this six-man rotation masterfully by allowing Kershaw to take the mound every fifth game and rotating Ryu and Maeda in the rotation.
Roberts also made good use of the Dodger bullpen as starters averaged just over 5 2/3 innings per start. Per our bullpen grades, the bullpen held their own with an MLB leading 24 2/3 scoreless inning stretch during May.
Overall, the Dodgers had the best pitching performances in the entire MLB during May with an MLB leading 2.94 team ERA. So with the improved clutch hitting performance and shut down pitching, it’s clear why the Dodgers had the best record in baseball during May.
Dave Roberts seemingly didn’t do any wrong with the way he managed the club and is the reason why this team has been playing up to its potential. Without Roberts making bold decisions to keep Bellinger in the big leagues and keep Wood in the rotation we may be looking at the month of May with an entirely different outlook.
Roberts has perhaps the most difficult managerial job in the MLB. In only his second year, Roberts has to manage the most talented, deep teams in the MLB with serious championship expectations. It’s a tall task for any manager, but Roberts has proven he’s not shying away from the challenge.
The Dodgers are playing the best baseball they’ve played since their stretch last season when they went 28-8 to recapture the division last season. Dave Roberts is a big part of that which is why Dave Roberts receives a solid A for the month of May.
Dave Roberts has the team clicking on all cylinders. He improved his grading from April and will look to continue the momentum through the rest of the reason. The club has a big test ahead of them as they face their most difficult part of the schedule through the middle of June. This wraps up our team grades for May. Be sure to check out our grades on the infield, outfield, starting pitching, and bullpen as we get set for another month of baseball.