Dodgers: Dave Roberts Not to Blame For Last Night’s Debacle

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 07: Manager Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 7, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 07: Manager Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 7, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers will enter tonight’s game desperately needing a win after blowing the last four games in the late innings. Maybe not standings-wise, but for their psyche, it would be nice to see the bullpen close out a game.

The majority of the blame last night was of course thrown at Dave Roberts.  While Dave Roberts has certainly made some questionable decisions lately, last night’s game was solely on the players.  Everything was set up for a win, but once again the bullpen blew it, this time being Scott Alexander.

What could Dave Roberts have done differently? The answer is not much.  Clayton Kershaw was at 110 pitches, so he wasn’t going to pitch a complete game.  That was the most pitches Clayton Kershaw had thrown this season since April 25th when he went on the DL after his start against the Marlins.

Clayton Kershaw pitched a very good game, arguably his best of the season but he’s not that type of horse anymore.  Kershaw hardly reaches 100 pitches in a game anymore and pushing him to at least 120 pitches for a complete game would just be asking for more injury trouble.  Kershaw did everything the Dodgers could have wanted and more, the bullpen just didn’t finish one last inning.

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Dave Roberts chose to go with Scott Alexander who besides Kenley Jansen has been the most effective reliever in the Dodger bullpen for most of the season.  Alexander got the Dodgers to within one out of a much-needed victory, but then he just fell apart.  A hit batter followed by a sinker down the middle of the plate, and the Dodgers went from victory to defeat in a matter of pitches.

Dylan Floro is the Dodgers’ other top reliever right now but not only did he just blow a game the day before, he has pitched in four of the last six games.  Pitching him for the fifth time in a week is not the ideal usage rate.  This isn’t the World Series where you could throw a pitcher every day and not worry about tomorrow (Brandon Morrow).

Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda were both unavailable out of the bullpen since they started games on Thursday and Friday.  Stripling is supposed to be available starting tonight but last night neither was an option.  John Axford was not available as news came out after the game that he has a cracked fibula.

The only other option was Caleb Ferguson, the 22-year-old who was pitching in Single-A last season.  Sure he might have closed out the game but what he would have done is anybody’s guess and you can’t fault Roberts for going with the veteran who has been solid for most of the season.

Next. Julio Urias nearing a return to the Dodgers. dark

At the end of the day, it’s up to the Manager to put his team in the best situation to succeed. Last night Roberts did that by having Scott Alexander in the game to close out the ninth inning.  Unfortunately, he didn’t come through, but that is not Dave Roberts’ fault.