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Dodgers: Can We Give Dave Roberts Just a Little Credit?



Despite an impressive rash of injuries this season, manager Dave Roberts still has the Dodgers within striking distance of first place in the NL West.

He doesn’t deserve all of the credit with this talented roster, but Dodgers fans need to give him his due.

The team opened the season with six proven starters. Roberts and the Dodgers had but three starters for most of July and August. The team had the best ERA in baseball (2.80) while their relievers led the league in IP (217.1). Not to mention, Roberts had to utilize an entirely different bullpen with unfamiliar names.

The unfortunate and troubling Trevor Bauer situation would distract many teams and fracture a locker room. Roberts has kept the Dodgers as focused and cohesive as ever.

Two of his former league MVPs, Betts and Bellinger, have missed significant time. Note: even when healthy, Bellinger has been….historically horrific. Shortstop Corey Seager missed 65 games this summer. That’s three premium hitters who haven’t been consistently available.

Through Thursday, Roberts and the Dodgers still rank fifth in runs scored (743) and have the best run differential (+244).

Look, Roberts isn’t perfect. Far from it. He’s not a Hall-of-Famer. He’s not the best manager in baseball. Some of his playoff decisions have been questionable at times. But he’s also not the baseball neophyte that Dodgers twitter makes him out to be. Besides, there’s a reason, maybe a few, you’re on your couch and not in the dugout.

There isn’t a manager in baseball more maligned and second guessed by his fanbase than Roberts. There also isn’t a manager who’s been more successful the last few years

Much like the coach of a NBA super-team, Roberts gets ripped when they lose a close game or series. He’s hardly ever discussed when they win.

NEXT: Which Starting Pitcher Shifts to the Bullpen in the Playoffs?

Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. Why espn last night was talking about the Alabama Crimson Tide football team and it didn’t matter who was the offensive coordinator. Their analogy was Alabama is an F1 race car and if you(offensive coordinator) crash the car into a wall, it is Not the cars’ fault. dave roberts is driving the F1 car(Dodgers, with their “unlimited” resources) and if his decision-making crashes the car, it is his fault. So No I’m not going to give him some credit.

  2. Look at the payroll and the money that they have spent, and yet we are still in 2nd place. Now that is not all Roberts fault, but sitting all star caliber hitters, and playing those grossly under performing, is not to be praised either.

  3. When he earns it I will…From what we’ve all been seeing from him regarding 3 boneheaded decisions that he made/or Wouldn’t make, he’s deserved a C – so far. Playing with a short bench-refusing to take Bellinger/mckinnley and several others out of the line up and simply bring Beaty and lux up was and is still is the biggest flop especially still a game back. Everyone knows the others, they’re like beating a dead horse because apparently he is still being fringe and ignorant of them as we speak. When he starts Betts-Muncy-Turner-Seager-Turner-Pollock- Smith-Taylor-pitcher, keeps Bellinger on the bench along with Beaty and Albert is when he can make it up to a B. Then there’s the Bull pen, and depending how he goes about that will depends on him getting a A. If he does all of these things correctly, there’s no reason why this team couldn’t win it all again. But there’s also No chance of him winning it all again if he keeps up the same course he’s on playing favorites, sitting non favorites all at the health of the entire team… This sums it all up IMO from watching this guy for all of these years with his tendencies.

  4. Roberts has been blessed with the best talent in the sport. Yes, he has won a lot of games but his management style and decision making relative to personnel both position players and pitchers has been extremely questionable in a ton of games. You give him credit for the second best record in baseball but most other managers of other teams would probably won a lot more games. Roberts believes in resting guys when in reality, they need more time on the field to work out of slumps and says it best for games in October. Unless we stay hot and play the best we have, there won’t be an October other than the one game where anything can happen. If you want to defend him on his decisions, think back to that series in Chicago when Beatty just went 4 for 5 and drove in seven runs. In Chicago, Roberts knew they were facing three right handed pitchers and Beatty didn’t even get an at bat in the series. When questioned about not playing him, he said he was not a starter but a bench player. His decisions have cost us a lot of games we should of won. He may deserve a tiny bit of credit, but I can’t find it anywhere.

    • Wish there was a way to down vote comments.

      It’s easy to second guess anyone and believe you know more, when you have the benefit of 20/20 vision. It’s also easy to micro analyze and not also account for all of the things Dave does well.

      Dave is underrated, and I hope the twitter troll universe doesn’t do the same kinds of unjust things they did to past Dodger players like Baez, and Jansen.

      • Just an idiotic/ignorant article about Roberts the Clown, Your line “There isn’t a manager in baseball more maligned…” should read “There isn’t a manager in baseball more malignant…”
        This team has to overcome their manager’s ineptitude to win games. If Roberts the Clown had been fired earlier in the year, we would be sitting confortably in first place.

        I HATE this type of article/writing. It makes readers go elsewhere for credible articles. Simply liking Roberts doe NOT make him a good manager.

      • Looking to see how many down votes you’d get? Listen, when you choose to sit 3 of your best bats in favor of 3 of your worse bats (so they can be fresh in the final days of the season) when you’re playing your division rival, who happens to be in first place with less than 25 games in the season that really makes you wonder what the heck he’s thinking. And then there is Bellinger. He’s batting like .159 for the season and has stranded how many base runners in scoring position because he’s forgotten how to hit? Any other player (think Matt Beaty whose actually hitting the ball in clutch situations) would get sent down. But, you watch, this supposed managerial genius will name him to a spot on the playoff roster.

        So, NO!, Roberts does not get any love for his ineptitude. He has a record of sticking with players even if it means losing games. Remember last year and his refusal to acknowledge Jansen’s poor performance of saving games? He finally was forced to admit what everyone else saw and finally relegated Jansen to a middle innings reliever role and put Urias in instead. You watch. You’ll see Bellinger on the playoff roster and even be the starter playing right field. That’s just plain stupid on Roberts part and it will cost the Dodgers dearly.

    • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Dodgers always have two obstacles to overcome. The opposing team, and their own manager. I still remember that outfield of Souza, Bellinger, McKinney against St Louis that cost us a game that would have had us tied with SF right now. They were a combined 0 for 9 with 4 strikeouts. No other manager in the history of baseball would have fielded such an offensively impotent outfield. I would like to give DR credit,.but reality keeps getting in the way.

      • Right now, Dave Roberts has a .618 winning percentage as a manager. That is the highest percentage of any manager with 450+ wins in baseball history. If he hits 1000 wins at this percentage; he will be in the Hall. Now, I disagree with a LOT of his decisions. The 3 outfielder lineup in St Louis, removing starting pitchers early, the double steal attempt where Bellinger stopped halfway to second, etc. But like the author says; we are only watching from a distance. We dont know the details in the dugout. Great article, Eric!

      • I agree completely. The give away game in St Louis stands a very real chance of the difference between division winner and wild card entry. It’s utterly indefensible for any manager to play that lineup with so much on the line.

    • Yep, Beaty is not a starter in DRRRRRRRRR’s world, but Mckinnley and Neuse and Souza-mckinstry and now Lux in left ALL are DRRRRRRRRR’s starters……Extremely weak answer…..

    • Actually, Beaty got 5 at dats in the second game against the Cubs in Chicago, he went 0 for 5. He was 4 for 6 with 7 rbi’s in that prior game against the Brewers. I do question Roberts decisions a lot and agree he has been blessed with a talented team. What aggravated me during his first couple years was how the media praised his being mixed race, as if that contributed to wins.

  5. Most fans don’t understand baseball as well as they think they do. It’s easy to second guess anyone and believe you know more, when you have the benefit of 20/20 vision. It’s also easy to micro analyze and not also account for all of the things Dave does well and over look those to fit your own internal confirmation bias.

    Dave is a good manager. Get over yourselves. I read the comments in here (not just this article) and I’ve yet to read any comment that demonstrates someone understands the game or managing players better than Roberts does.

      • For other’s info Roberts lost back to back ASG’s in 2018 and 2019 and lost this year’s ASG in 2021.But I’m curious to see if indeed that give away game in St. Louis means Dodgers end up in that WC game instead of the Division title. And should Dodgers end up being sent home after a 100+ win season following that game, eyes will be on the players but most may very well be on DRRRRRRR.

    • A completely laughable comment!
      “Most fans don’t understand baseball as well as they think they do.” And apparently you don’t understand it at all.
      Completely inappropriate sentences that should never be written: “Dave is a good manager.”

    • hahaha! Arguably his best season ever managing with all the injuries and distractions this team has had. Dodgers are relaxed and taking care of business now, firing on all cylinders to win their 9th straight NL West title

    • Wait until you grow up Dodger Boy. You may find wisdom. Roberts the Clown should never have been hired.

  6. Managers have different strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day, results are the main criteria to evaluate a manager. Sure the Dodgers have unbelievable talent, especially this year, but they have had a long stretch of successful seasons under Roberts. Many other teams have an abundance of talent, but not his record. This year, the injuries have been ridiculous, it took them 3/4 of the season to even get close to putting their main players all playing together [not to mention the Bauer situation]. Some fans think they could manage the team better, but I don’t see them getting hired.

  7. Define what it will take for DR to get some credit! “Getting to the post season with all the injuries we’ve had this season and managing his team well when they are there.” Ya can’t really expect every decision he makes to work out; he’s doing his job if he gets us to the post-season and doesn’t blow any games at that point. If the players don’t perform that’s not totally on him and more likely a function of the other team’s pitching. Nobody ever said this was an all or nothing sport…or that we would win every game, mistake free.

  8. For anyone that has managed the great game of baseball and has also played at mid to high levels of the game, we all know when you have more talent than the other teams, you win. When you don’t you lose. Does anyone know Roberts record as the National League All Stars manager? That’s another good factor to assess when evaluating a manager, when he has the games greatest players at his disposal….

      • Yep Paul, add the World Series losses to the All Star games and those that call DRRRRRR a great manager forget that Tommy Lasorda for instance, won 3 All Star games, 2 World Series, and a Olympic Gold medal. Even with his 2 World series losses, Lasorda took the National leagues top players to victory and America’s best young players and won… Now THAT’s a GREAT manager……

  9. Nope, The answer is in the negative, Nein, Not-At-All, Nix, Disagree, Absolutely Not, By-no-means, No-Way, None, Never, No More, Nothing-Doing, Refusal, Nay, Nor, No-Good.

  10. Anyone who has managed at ANY level knows it’s all about who has the most talent. I personally look at Roberts record in the biggest games. The 2nd thing I look at is how has Roberts done as the National League All Star manager with the greatest talent in the entire league?

  11. The Dodgers record is good enough to be 6+ games in front of any other team in the division.
    We should not be having this conversation.
    The problem is the Dodgers management allowed their star executive to go to the Giants.
    Most businesses can’t prevent your best employees to go to your competitor.
    MLB policy allows you to PREVENT any of your competitors from taking any of your best executives. At least only allow him to go to a different league or division.
    The Dodgers blew it big time, by allowing Zaidi to go to their archrival.
    They should just come out and own up to their big screw up.

    • Hey John, imagine this if you can…..Instead of starting Mckinnley-Bellinger-mckinstry- for 2 months and getting zero production from ALL of them, and instead, starting Matt Beaty ? What a incredible idea!! I know, do you think if the Dodgers would of still kept Zaiidi he could have figured that one out? The dodgers lost AT LEAST 10 games this year to the decision to FAVOR players over others. Go ahead, we know…

      • For one thing those 3 players ya mentioned sort of magnifies how, with the exception of Pujols, our bench being far inferior to last years. I don’t bring Beaty up because through no fault of his own, he was in OKC much of the time before returning here.

        • Of course the bench has been aweful compared to last year. But I’ve maintained for months the WRONG players have been in the line up. Tonights game was great example of how Roberts mismanaged the last 2 months primarily for the blatant ignorance of beaty, and the blatant homer coddling of Bellinger. I can’t even make a excuse for roberts regarding mckinnley, that FLOP and continous failure that wasted a roster spot for 2 months was a sickening situation while Beaty and even Lux were in OKC……

  12. Just an idiotic/ignorant article about Roberts the Clown, Your line “There isn’t a manager in baseball more maligned…” should read “There isn’t a manager in baseball more malignant…”
    This team has to overcome their manager’s ineptitude to win games. If Roberts the Clown had been fired earlier in the year, we would be sitting confortably in first place.

    I HATE this type of article/writing. It makes readers go elsewhere for credible articles. Simply liking Roberts doe NOT make him a good manager.

    • Without a doubt mqarep, the media coddles DRRRRRRRRRRRR’s, never holds him accountable for ‘ANY” stupid decisions. And glorifies him as some “Healer” of what we all have NO Idea of….I will say this and give him credit for “PULLING OFF” a GREAT interview. Better than Gabe Kapler I guess as both interviewed for the job back when. And that decision has come FULL circle now as our saviour “DRRRRRRR”, is and has been getting his lunch handed to him by Gabe…..

  13. Excellent point Kirk. Zaidi and Kapler has managed the Giants better than Friedman and Roberts for the Dodgers. Giants have the lesser payroll and less “All Star” elite players than the Dodgers this year. But Kapler has tactically got the most out of his team. Both teams have had their share of injuries. If the Dodgers, with their willingness to spend big, did not get Scherzer and Turner this season—the Dodgers will be struggling to get into the WC vs the Padres, Reds and Cardinals. Roberts, as has been pointed out, plays favorites, is more of a cheerleader, good buddy coach, and a yes man to the front office. Terrible tactician.

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