Dodgers: There’s no right way for Dave Roberts to manage the bullpen
Los Angeles Dodgers fans are rightfully frustrated. Their team just absorbed a 4-13 stretch, are tumbling in the division, and look far from the defending World Series champions.
The offense can’t generate enough runs to separate from the opposition. And when they do in the later innings, the bullpen can’t hold on.
Some fans are angry with manager Dave Roberts, but how? Why?
He’s not the reason the Dodgers have forgotten how to hit and his relievers can no longer handle pressure-filled situations.
And in the case of the bullpen, where he has much more control and influencer over than the offense, there’s simply no better way for him to manage the unit.
Fans can complain all they want, but what else is there to do at the moment?
What more can Dave Roberts do with the Dodgers bullpen?
Well, when David Price, Corey Knebel, Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly and Tony Gonsolin have all spent significant time on the injured list, what else can you do?
At that point, you’d think he could rely on Kenley Jansen and Blake Treinen to preserve a lead, and they haven’t been able to a few times during this laughable stretch. What else is he supposed to do when Dustin May suffers a season-ending injury in the second inning and Clayton Kershaw can’t get out of the first? At that point, it’s over. The bullpen has to eat ~8 innings, which is a near-insurmountable task for so many other teams.
And even in textbook situations where Treinen/Jansen are relied upon to shut the door (or it’s a tie game), there aren’t anymore lockdown options after them in the event they blow the lead or the game continues in extras! That’s why Garrett Cleavinger just took the last two losses.
If this bullpen could sub out Cleavinger, Mitch White, Alex Vesia and Edwin Uceta for the five aforementioned relievers, we’re talking about an entirely different bullpen construction. It stinks right now because of injuries … and because the offensive support isn’t there to avoid these situations, which have been omnipresent for the last three weeks.
The Dodgers have lost 10 games over this stretch by one or two runs. The bullpen blew seven of those. And when multiple are the result of Jansen and Treinen, there’s simply nothing Roberts or the front office can do. The blueprint is there for the victory. The players just aren’t getting it done.
Nothing has gone right for the Dodgers over this 17-game run aside from their two explosive victories that yielded 24 runs. And even when things have lined up perfectly for Roberts to steal a win, it just hasn’t panned out. It’s not his fault. The team needs to get healthy, wake up, and return to form. The manager hardly controls the destiny of this star-studded team.