Dave Roberts finally relents on blind support of Dodgers abysmal defense

Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

The Dodgers were trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Pirates on Thursday, and their starter didn't make things easy on them in the early going. Walker Buehler, in his sixth start since coming back from injury, only lasted three innings after giving up seven hits and four runs (three earned), including a homer. He only struck out three batters.

Luckily, the Dodgers offense was moving: Freddie Freeman hit a three-run home run in the first inning and Miguel Rojas knocked one in on a single, but by the time Buehler's day was over, the Pirates caught up.

He wasn't helped by the defense behind him, either. The bottom of the second featured a throwing error by Mookie Betts that allowed Edward Olivares to reach, and then he made it to third on another error by Kiké Hernández. Jack Suwinski brought Olivares home on a single for the Pirates' first run of the night.

The Dodgers were propelled to a win by some power by both Hernández's — Teoscar and Kiké — and a three-run homer by Betts, who promptly made another throwing error that allowed Andrew McCutchen to reach just one inning later.

After the game, Dave Roberts — usually a "grass is always greener" guy — was uncharacteristically but rightfully displeased with the defense, calling it their "worst defensive performance of the year."

Dodgers' three-error night versus Pirates prompted some rare criticism from Dave Roberts

Roberts is the same manager who said just earlier this week that he evaluated Betts' defense as being "three grades better" since spring training. He certainly didn't have any evidence to back it up then, and after Thursday night's performance, Betts seems to be actively proving him wrong.

It feels like we're beating a dead horse at this point, but the Dodgers simply need to be aggressive about finding shortstop replacements at the trade deadline, and they can't keep pretending like Betts can just do anything because he's the player that he is. Not only did his OAA drop a percentile between Roberts' praise and Thursday's game, it has seemed to affect his mental game, as he's been noted as sounding "weary" when discussing his struggles at short (and he just broke out of a 1-25 slump at the plate).

Almost 70 games into the season, the Dodgers need to turn the page on this experiment. It was fun while it lasted ... sort of?