Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts isn’t exactly the most vocal of figureheads out there, so when he says something that could be perceived as a callout, perhaps the subjects should be listening intently.
Roberts spoke to the media during the Winter Meetings and addressed a number of topics, ranging from free agency departures to Dodgers targets to the plan for 2023. But he was also asked about the disappointing 2022 campaign that ended with an early postseason exit at the hands of the division-rival San Diego Padres.
In that NLDS, the Padres were resilient and the Dodgers were … flat. The best offense in the league scored 12 runs across four games. Just about everyone — from the lineup to the pitching staff — failed to deliver in key moments.
Some fans might’ve gone as far to use the word “lifeless” to describe the Dodgers in the series. While Roberts wasn’t that drastic when speaking about the loss, he did allude to something similar.
He told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (subscription required) that LA lacked intensity in the dugout, especially when compared with San Diego’s energy, which likely played a role in the upset.
Dave Roberts said the Dodgers lacked similar intensity as the Padres during NLDS
Roberts then took responsibility for said shortcoming, claiming the team may have been a bit overconfident. After all, the Dodgers owned the Padres in the regular season, taking 14 out of 19 games, and didn’t lose a single series to their apparent rivals.
But once the playoffs arrived, the Dodgers lost three out of the first four contests against San Diego after taking Game 1. Last week, Roberts said it was “on par” with the 2017 World Series loss to the Houston Astros.
That’s … deep. Perhaps this played a role in the Dodgers letting countless free agents go in addition to cutting ties with Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner? Was the DNA makeup of this team something that needed to be altered moving forward?
Because Roberts apparently isn’t the problem, based on the actions of the organization. Roberts was rewarded with a three-year extension before the start of the 2022 season. The Dodgers “lacking intensity” isn’t exactly anything new, either. They’re more known for coming up short/choking in the playoffs than they are for winning.
Perhaps after seven years at the helm, Roberts has found the answer to rallying his clubhouse before the most important games/series of the year. Because, despite the World Series win in 2020, that’s been a problem since Roberts took over this true golden era of Dodgers baseball.