The Dodgers are on the brink of a World Series victory, but Dave Roberts might need to go.
The Los Angeles Dodgers could go 162-0 and sweep their way through the postseason and fans will still find a way to ridicule manager Dave Roberts, though he has rightly come under fire this postseason.
Much of Roberts’ decision making has put the Dodgers in really tough spots, and you can look no further than Games 4 and 5 of the World Series. We can even go back as far as Game 1 and question why he removed Clayton Kershaw, who was cruising in his outing, after just 78 pitches. He would then go on to use FOUR relievers in an 8-1 game.
The Dodgers signed him to a four-year, $12 million contract after the 2018 season, so he still has two years left on his deal once 2020 concludes. But his status as the team’s skipper came into question last year when LA was bounced after a disastrous series against the eventual World Series-champion Washington Nationals. Fans had to wait on reports to tell them Roberts would be back in 2020.
But this year is different. Roberts, as many fans feel, is the one getting in this team’s way. This isn’t 2016 or 2019 when they lost to teams of destiny in the Cubs and Nats. This isn’t 2017 when they lost to the cheating Houston Astros. This isn’t even 2018, when they were steamrolled by an apparently unstoppable Red Sox team.
LA has face a lot of inferior playoff teams in 2020. The Milwaukee Brewers were downright bad. The San Diego Padres have zero postseason experience. The Atlanta Braves are your top chokers on the big stage, arguably. The Tampa Bay Rays have advanced past the ALDS just twice in the history of their franchise. This is tailor made for the Dodgers.
They went down 3-1 to the Braves before staging an epic comeback. Though Clayton Kershaw beefed his one crucial start in that series and the offense took a while to get going, Roberts’ usage of the pitching staff began to show signs of things to come in the World Series. Why were Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen getting high-leverage spots? And why are they still getting high-leverage spots?
Why did it take so long for him to figure out using Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin in this frantic manner was largely bad? That could turn around given May’s awesome relief outing in Game 5 and Gonsolin’s well-rested upcoming Game 6 start, but the Dodgers lost Game 2 because of it, and Game 4, though the errors put the nail in the coffin, was pretty much his fault given how he used Baez and Jansen.
The Rays winning Game 4 opened the door for them to remain in the series. If not for that miraculous win, the Dodgers are World Series champs right now.
Can the front office stomach these roller coaster rides? Game 5 was the perfect example of that. The Dodgers won, but Roberts’ decisions were a near carbon copy of Game 4. We know the fans can’t take it anymore, and given how much tinkering with the roster the Dodgers will have to do over the next two offseasons, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that the organization wants somebody else leading the charge in the dugout after witnessing their plan not be as seamlessly executed as they had pictured.