The Dodgers are ready to get back into the swing of things in 2019. With spring training just a little over a month away it’s time to look at what Dave Roberts needs to improve on in 2019.
The new year has been rung in and now its time to look at what Dave Roberts can improve on in 2019. Roberts was finally extended so he won’t have to worry about coaching through a lame duck year in 2019. Roberts has received his fair share of criticism throughout the years but here are three things that he must improve on in 2019:
Let Starters Pitch Deeper
The Dodgers have not trusted their starting pitchers much especially in the postseason. Rich Hill has been pulled too early in each of the last two World Series. In 2019, Dave Roberts needs to let his starters pitch deeper into games, particularly in the playoffs.
It’s one thing to limit your starters in the regular season which is a marathon but come October, there is no tomorrow and Dave needs to let his starters empty the tank. Walker Buehler arguably could have pitched even deeper into his World Series start as he left the game at 108 pitches still throwing in the upper 90’s. Although his start was lost in the wild 18 inning game, Jansen gave up the tying run in the eighth inning which Buehler arguably could have cruised through.
Limit Kenley Jansen to One Inning Saves
Building off of that last part, Kenley Jansen needs to stop being used to pitch more than one inning, or at least four outs. In 2017, Jansen unraveled in his second inning of work in game two and in the 2018 World Series, Jansen couldn’t make it through two innings twice. While he may have had health issues hindering him in 2018, it’s clear that Jansen struggles when going more than one inning.
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The addition of Joe Kelly should help limit Jansen to one inning as the Dodgers plan to use Kelly as a multi-inning reliever. 2019 figures to be a bounce back year for Jansen after a subpar season for his standards and the Dodgers can help him out by limiting his outings to one inning or at least four outs maximum.
Don’t Wait for Things to Happen Offensively
The 2018 Dodgers were a club that relied on the home run ball. Far too often it felt like the Dodgers were sitting around waiting for someone to come through with a home run. In 2019, it’s up to Dave Roberts to force the issue on offense. Steal more bases, which is something most though was coming with Roberts being the Dodgers’ manager.
Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Chris Taylor, and even Austin Barnes are all players capable of stealing bases. Justin Turner steals bases based off his good jumps and Joc Pederson stole a ton of bases in the minor leagues but never saw that translate in the big leagues. The Dodgers have plenty of speed especially if they keep Verdugo, they need to utilize that in 2019.
Then there are the situational spots the Dodgers need to be better in. With a runner on third and less than two outs, put the ball in play. The Dodgers also rarely utilized the hit and run in the past few seasons and they can make that happen with good contact hitters like Justin Turner, Corey Seager, and Alex Verdugo. The offense could put up even more crooked numbers in 2019 if Dave Roberts becomes more aggressive.