Andrew Friedman’s Dave Roberts defense makes Dodgers retaining him more confusing

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 11: Manager Dave Roberts and president and CEO Stan Kasten of the Los Angeles Dodgers stand on the field before game one of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 11: Manager Dave Roberts and president and CEO Stan Kasten of the Los Angeles Dodgers stand on the field before game one of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Dodgers fans have got it out for manager Dave Roberts. He constantly draws the ire of the base regardless of the situation. Sometimes, it’s understandable. Other times … it’s excessive.

It’s a combination of things, right? It’s the Dodgers offense putting him in a poor position to manage every playoff game like it’s his last. That’s no sustainable way to live, especially in October.

Then again … more times than not, it seems Roberts doesn’t press the right buttons. But wait a second … isn’t the Dodgers front office an influential presence in the team’s decision making? Isn’t there belief Roberts is either following some sort of script or taking directives from those above him?

Well, if you ask president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman … that’s not the case! That creates a bit of a disconnect, as well as more frustration among the fan base, because Friedman is either 1) lying or 2) defending Roberts’ decision making that has more times than not doomed the Dodgers.

It’s admittedly a tough situation, but knowing the Dodgers fan base, this isn’t going to sit well with them, because neither scenario gives them what they want.

Dodgers fans won’t be happy with Andrew Friedman’s defense of Dave Roberts

Friedman himself said that this postseason exit was probably the most disappointing of his tenure with the team. He’s been calling the shots since the end of the 2014 season. The Dodgers lost in the NLDS in 2015 and parted ways with Don Mattingly.

Then Roberts came aboard and has become the winningest manager in franchise history … but blew a 2-1 lead with home field advantage in the NLCS in 2016; lost to the cheating Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series; got steamrolled by the Boston Red Sox in the 2018 World Series; lost to the Washington Nationals in the NLDS in 2019; won the World Series during a shortened 2020 season; fell to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS in 2021; and just got ousted by the Padres, who they dominated all year, in the NLDS.

Shameful? Not really. That’s a ton of success. Six NL West titles. Three World Series appearances. Seven straight playoff appearances. But sometimes it does come down to a manager’s instincts taking over a particular game and series, and it’s really hard to pinpoint when Roberts has done that.

Were Roberts’ bullpen decisions in Game 4 the right ones? Many would say absolutely not. Tyler Anderson was arguably pulled too early. Tommy Kahnle was overused. Dustin May wasn’t used at all in the series. There are a lot of questions that need more explicit answers. But this isn’t the only time Roberts seeing a decision through didn’t go the Dodgers’ way in October. It’s been more of a theme rather than a rarity.

The frustration will only fester with either a lack of clarity or a steadfast defense of what’s clearly been a factor in holding the Dodgers back. Signs are pointing to a long, long offseason as a result.

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