Dodgers: Dave Roberts August Grade

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 10: Dave Roberts
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 10: Dave Roberts /

The Dodgers continued their trend of winning in August by going 17-10.  Dave Roberts had another solid month of managing the Dodgers, despite a few hiccups.

Despite the Dodgers ending the month of August by losing five straight games to the Brewers and Diamondbacks, it was another winning month for the club as they finished 17-10 in August.  While the most glaring coaching decision Dave Roberts made in August was the Rich Hill perfect game, there were plenty of other happenings for the month.  Despite these other moments not garnering the attention that the perfect game did, they are still important to cover.

What went right

The biggest moment of August for Dave Roberts came on August 23rd when the Dodgers had a no hitter going entering the tenth inning thanks to a gem by Rich Hill.  Roberts let Rich Hill start the tenth inning and then he promptly gave up a walk-off home run to Josh Harrison, and Hill lost the no hitter and the game.  Despite the sour outcome, Dave Roberts absolutely made the right call by letting Hill start the tenth inning.  Hill had thrown 95 pitches to start the inning, and that is not enough pitches to take him out with a no hitter going on.  If Hill had thrown 110-115 pitches, then it would’ve been a reach to leave him in especially given his past blister issues.  Roberts made the correct call leaving Hill in, and despite the loss, it was the right move.

Another area of managing that Roberts aced in August was the battle for the left-handed reliever spots in the playoff bullpen rotation.  Dave put Paredes, Watson, and Cingrani into high leverage roles in the late innings to see who could come through.  In the playoffs, every inning is high leverage, so it is great to see Roberts sorting through who is fit for a playoff spot. Luis Avilan has all but locked up a playoff spot, so Roberts used him as a setup reliever too, but the biggest opportunities were given to Cingrani, Watson and Paredes.  He could have easily gone with the veteran Tony Watson who has closer experience, but he has struggled, so it is the right move to let the three southpaws battle for the last lefty spot in the playoff bullpen unless Ryu makes the playoff roster as a bullpen arm.

While sending Joc Pederson down was likely a decision made by the front office and not just Dave Roberts, he was still part of the decision to send Joc Pederson to Triple-A.  It was a tough decision, it was the right move since Joc continued to regress and was becoming a liability in the batting order.  Letting Chris Taylor play center field was the move that had to be made so it was good to see the front office and Dave Roberts come to terms with this.

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What went wrong

Despite a handful of righteous moves by Dave Roberts in August, there were some moves that he incorrectly made.  One of these moves is giving Adrian Gonzalez playing time.  Despite supposedly being over his back injury, Gonzalez just isn’t a player worth starting right now as a full-time player.  While he flashes power every now and then, he seems to be a ground ball hitter now and should be used as nothing but a sub or pinch hitter.  Dave Roberts needs to bench Gonzalez for good and move forward with Bellinger at first base and Curtis Granderson in left field who has provided a jolt to the offense since his arrival.

Another move that Roberts has incorrectly made is starting Logan Forsythe at second base against right-handed hitters.  Forsythe is hitting lefties well to a .290 average, but he is hitting below .200 against right-handed pitchers.  As I touched on here, it may be time to give Austin Barnes a shot at second base against right-handed starting pitchers.  Forsythe continues to play great defense at second base, but his bat against righties is a liability in the Dodgers lineup.  It’s time for Dave Roberts to shift Forsythe into being a platoon player, and not a full-time starter at second base.

The final negative mark on Dave Robert’s August report card is his usage of Pedro Baez.  Baez finished August with a 3.38 ERA which is about three times higher than his ERA for the other months of the season.  Whether he has hit a wall or it’s just a series of bad luck, it’s time for Dave Roberts to remove Baez from being the 8th inning setup man.  Brandon Morrow and Josh Fields may even be a better reliever than Baez at the moment.  This will be something to monitor in September to see if Baez can reclaim a major playoff role and bounce back in September.

Next: Is it time to panic about Yu Darvish?

B. . Manager. Dodgers. DAVE ROBERTS

Besides a five game losing streak to end the month of August it was business as usual for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers.  Like any team with a big division lead should do, Roberts chose to give players a shot to earn a playoff role by placing them in key situations of games.  This is something he will need to continue to do in September to separate the men from the boys.  Roberts gets a “B” grade for his August work as the Dodgers look to get rolling again in September.