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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Admits Team Needs to Play With More Urgency



Sunday was exactly the type of win that the Dodgers should earn almost every time out against the worst team in baseball. The bats came to life and Julio Urias turned in a sparkling start. The bullpen backed him up and they got it done in a complete team win. 

But that’s not always how the Dodgers have played in 2021, demonstrated by the extra-innings loss on Friday. Granted, the health of the roster has been questionable at best, but that’s not the full story. 

After the win on Sunday, even Dave Roberts admitted it’s been tough to turn on the compete in 2021. The Dodgers skipper would go on to say that they need to continue to play with the sense of urgency that drives teams into the postseason. 

I think we gotta be like that all year. It’s kind of hard to just turn it on right now. So I think we’ve got to do a better job of playing with some more urgency. I think that’s what we did really good last year and we haven’t done this year. …I think we just have to start playing with some more urgency and getting some things to turn our way instead of just waiting for it.

Do the additions of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner turn up the intensity? Maybe. But the Dodgers’ entire roster needs to show that sense of urgency in order to win the NL West and then advance deep into October. 

Dodgers Related: Walker Buehler Takes Grounders at Shortstop

Heading into Tuesday’s game against the Astros, the Dodgers are chasing the Giants by 3.5 games in the West. If they’re going to overtake them in the final 2 months of the season, they have to find another gear. 

Dodgers News: Walker Buehler Named National League Pitcher of the Month

Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Biggest complaint I have with Roberts, the team frequently takes on his laid-back demeanor. Only on occasion has the 2021 team played with a chip on its shoulder, sense of urgency, etc. Roberts has doesn’t even get upset when Dodgers hitters are hit-by-pitches, or knocked down with inside pitches dangerously close to their heads. Bottom line, Roberts only needs to look into the mirror to see the reason for team’s lack of urgency.

    • I can’t help but to say SPOT ON! Once again I saw no reaction or response from Roberts after I believe 2 more hitters were HBP. If Roberts feels team needs to play with more urgency then he needs to stop putting a .160 hitter in Bellinger in the 4th or 5th spot in the lineup just because a RHP is going. When Trea Turner arrives it’s time for Cody to be sent to alternate site to re-work his offensive approach entirely. Urgency means Roberts must put the best lineup available on the field DAILY and if it doesn’t include Bellinger right now so be it. BTW, hope all is well with you and family during these trying times.

      • I agreee with you wholeheartedly. Roberts is not showing urgency when he is hanging over the railing like a dead duck !

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly! When he stands there with his arms hanging over the railing like a dead duck !that doesn’t display urgency ! When [email protected] him on TV( which is the only way I can watc ,from the East coast) I scream at him to show some damn pep !!! It has to come from him!!

    • SoCalBum:

      Exactly right. Roberts behaves almost as if he’s on a valium vacation, irrespective of what is happening on the field. The examples you gave, plus his “whatever” handling of Bellinger’s dismal performance underscore what’s wrong with the team’s manager and his demeanor’s influence on the team.

      • My fear is that when Trea Turner arrives, Roberts might sit CT3 and/or Pollock simply to keep Bellinger in the lineup for his defense only in CF. I can’t imagine another case of inept managing than that would be. I can just imagine most of the fan’s reactions to Roberts should he do this insane thing to the lineup.

        • Oh, boy!!! You just said exactly what I have been thinking these last few days!!!! This miserable Dodgers manager will probably do exactly that!!!
          Sitting down CT3 just to play Bellinger in CF and you know that’s going to be horrible when he comes up with men on base and does what he’s been doing lately, strike out!!!!! Can he just bunt the damn ball or hit against the shift?

          • What may save the situation is the front office sitting Roberts down and telling him that Cody must sit and not give a damn about hurting his feelings. Cody should or better yet the Dodger hitting gurus should take a good look at Bryce Harpers swing and how he handles pitches. Not saying the Harper doesn’t take some very health cuts, but nothing like Cody’s swings. Where I live, I get to see the Phillies pretty much every night and the other evening Harper took a pitch on the outer edge and with I nice controlled level swing hit a rocket into the left field corner for an easy double. Christ if Cody would place a couple of hard bunts down the 3rd base line with the way he runs he would probably end up with a few doubles. I’ve said this many times, but Cody either straightens out and changes his approach he is going to be on the short end of the stick with regard to his remaining in the game. I don’t know another manager anywhere putting up with a 160 hitter who strikes out they way Cody is right now. Let alone hit him in the clean up slot in the batter order.

          • Well I just saw Bellinger do that very same thing when he came to bat late in game with a chance to put Dodgers on the scoreboard but he struck leaving RISP again.

        • I’m a big fan of Belli, but I will flip if I see CT3 or Pollach sitting over Cody. These two guys deserve to play everyday.

  2. The hated Giants are now 28 games above .500. They play 5 more games against Az. in the next week, so soon, S.F. could get to 30-32 games above .500.
    If the Giants just have a so-so month of August they could be 32+ games above .500 by Sept. 1.
    The Dodgers need to go on an extended run and it needs to start now. The challenge for the Dodgers is that they have “practiced” bad habits much of the season, despite their very good won-loss record. Also, not having set #4 and #5 SP’s, will make going on an extended run even tougher.
    It’s likely that it’s going to take a minimum of 97-98 wins to win the N.L. West, maybe 100 wins.
    If Kershaw and Duffy were healthy right now, then it would be “all systems go” for the Dodgers.
    Bottom line is: the sense of urgency needs to start tonight and continue for the remainder of the season.

      • May – out. Gonsolin – out. Kershaw – out. The club cannot continue the bull pen starts and still have a functional bull pen by late September. Imagine what they’d be doing now if they hadn’t made the trade for Scherzer? Three starters won’t be enough to catch the Giants, who are playing good ball, particularly when the club’s only got 7 players (not counting pitchers) in the lineup who can hit the ball safely more than once out of every ten at bats.

        • Sure hope Scherzer can pitch up to his potential. I’m glad we’re just renting him for the rest of the year because of his age.. Look at Betts, is he going to be a average player the next 10 years. How many times has he walked back to the dugout after an at bat, shaking his head in disgust.. Bellinger is totally lost compared to 2019. Why isn’t he trying to do something to try to help his game, it looks like he isn’t because its been the same thing all year. Nothing to do with being on the IL either, he even been worst than last year.

  3. Our sense of urgency should have started the moment we took note of what the Giants were doing this season, and that team has yet to cool off. Although the Giants show some signs of needing to work harder for their wins, they show absolutely no signs of slumping. So, in the absence of an unanticipated Giants’ decline, we better do whatever it takes to step our game up and maintain that level of play. Go Dodgers!

  4. Now they’re talking about a sense of urgency? Where was this when they lost 15 out of 20 games during that lackadaisical strech. They lost unnecessary games because of lack of focus and careless attitude. Doc was giving excuses, “it’s a long season”, JT was saying, “standings don’t matter”, and even some of posters said “we have time”. By taking on that kind of attitude you put yourself in the hole like presently whereas having more urgency to fight, they would have won some of those close games. Focus on the situation, do your job, and think team first. That is the difference between last yr’s team attitude and this yr’s. Last yr they had more come from behind wins, where they won the close ones w/ solid defense, 2 outs scoring, and “passing the baton”. Now they realize the Giants are in 1st for about a month, not losing ground and beaten more in head-to-head. They must take the division and be the top seed, no wild card – play in game.

    • Granted, last year Roberts did not have to struggle too much with in game management because of an available DH in the lineup. Obviously, that’s not the case here in 2021.

      • It is not only the lack of a DH is the cause as you keep posting. It is the whole structural of playing as a winning championship team that is missing, compared to last year’s attitude. Remember their thinking was “ World Series or Bust “ ?

        • That structural part of playing like a winning team has to at least begin with the manager to be tuned in to what’s really going with this team instead of that laid back demeanor that a fan posted about earlier today. But yeah, that urgency and winning attitude compared to last year is missing. Just take tonight’s 3 to 0 shutout loss to the Astros of all teams.

  5. Watching the Giants this year proves that Roberts is the problem in LA. When Zaidi was in LA, multiple World Series appearances. With Zaidi winning in SF, how can Kasten & Co NOT see the problem is Roberts?

    Right a 22-year wrong; bring back Scioscia!

    • Good call on righting a 22 year wrong. I have been saying for a good while that Roberts needs to go. This crap about him being one of the guys and a players manager doesn’t mean squat. This team needs a manager who will kick some butt, holler, scream, just do whatever is necessary to get the best out of them. Maybe they read too many headlines before the season started that were saying how this team was in position to set the all time wins record. Someone forgot to tell them that they still had to play the games, nobody was/is going to lay down for the mighty Dodgers. The fact is that every team we play comes to play with a chip on their shoulders because it is the Dodgers. And I agree with the post above about Roberts just doesn’t show a sense of urgency, I too am an east coast fan and fortunately living in Pa. I get to see the Dodgers a lot on tv. In the recent Giants series, he wasted two outstanding pitching performances with his lack of bullpen management, and why he took Buehler out after 7 plus strong innings is beyond me, and please don’t tell me it was because of the 99 pitches. Anybody see what Cole did when Boone tried to take him out with well over 100 pitches and he threw a 99 mile per hr. for strike 3 and won the game. Roberts has no clue on how to manage a staff or a team. If Buehler is allowed to finish the 8th, though we will now never know he could have used Trienin in the 9th instead of Jansen and we win the game and possibly then we may have been able to sweep the Giants. I realize this is all speculation, but we would have been a lot better off had Jansen been given the night off. I don’t Roberts can think far ahead enough to make the right call.

    • Dodger since ’68, unfortunately Roberts will remain here thru this year and probably next, based on these 8 straight Division titles, 3 NL Pennants and a ws. But much of the time Dodgers would win in spite of him and his in game management and pitching decisions. All in all the players must perform but Roberts must put the best possible lineup out there, especially when Trea Turner arrives, even if that means Bellinger and his .160 BA doesn’t start in CF.

    • What I would really like to know is, what are the owners will do next year with Roberts if the Dodgers get beat in the first round of the playoffs because it looks more and more like it can happen if he doesn’t start putting that sense of urgency in the players heads RIGHT NOW!!!! He’ll probably be fired!!!

      • If it’s the one and done wild card game, chances are Roberts just may get out managed and Dodgers miss getting to the NLDS. I hate to say it but the later it gets into this season. It looks more and more like the Giants just may put an end to the Dodgers Division Title run at 8 straight.

  6. Because this is the first time he has said this, it is my concern too. He believes his players need time off like last week. Pulling Seager, Bellinger Muncy for rest was a mistake. August will be make or break and single what will transpire for another World Series. It just does not make a lot of sense to me. I don’t look at baseball as a grueling hard work, perhaps fun too. To many one run games loss. Anyways we need to charge with this going forward. Win all the games no losses. Prove that with this all-star lineup can’t lose

    • Right on because Giants are now playing the Dbacks so Dodgers have to play with urgency for rest of the year just to insure a Wild Card spot. Nothing short of a 2 game sweep of the Astros is acceptable.

  7. Right about Roberts. Muncy didn’t need a day off when he just came back from a 3 day maternity leave and then having the next day off too. Dodgers win big time so their wasn’t even a story on that. They sign Betts to that huge contract and this year he’s not living up to his potential. He’s had many days this year but it didn’t help. I don’t think he had one day off last year…Is he just going to be a average player for the next 10 years?? Bellinger is totally lost and they should have traded him for some big player before he looses his value. Don’t understand that guy, he batted over 300 all year in 2019. Does he need glasses??? There won’t be any urgency with Roberts and laid back way of managing. One more thing, get rid of Hershiser. One of the worst announcer’s the Dodgers have ever had. Always talking about some B.S. instead of the game, his perfecttion’s of the way he played the game, or his knowledge of the next pitch. OMG.

  8. Nothing Roberts can do will conjure up starting pitchers. I’d be trying to bring Fernando and Orel out of the broadcast booths at this point, but that may not be realistic.

    So they have to win when Buehler, Scherzer and Urias start. Gotta move runners with productive outs. Consistently. Gotta make the defensive plays you’re supposed to make. Consistently. Can’t start handing out free passes late in games. Can’t keep batting Belli in middle of the order.

    I’m curious to see this lineup down the stretch, if they can finally stay healthy. Pretty sick 1 through 8, especially if AJ and CT3 can keep it up. Hopefully Belli is a defensive replacement and spot starter only. Putting him in CF allows anyone to be rested except Smith. But I’d honestly rather see Tio Albert get starts against lefties as a vehicle to rest guys. Given that they traded some serious treasure away for rental Scherzer and just one extra year of TT I’m assuming/hoping that they won’t worry about Belli’s feelings too much when filling out the lineup card.

  9. yeah the sky is falling – it’s over – must sweep astros – doc can’t manage a lick – needs to go. lol

    Dodgers are going to be fine – they are getting healthy and 3 trades on board will be a huge help. and the gnats play the pods 10 more games so there should be lots of losses coming up for the gnats when they play the pods. Once Trea is onboard then we send Cody to AZ site. Knebel almost ready; big unknown is Kersh. Overall, the Dodgers will be there. They are 4 games back of the gnats in the lost column! They’ll make it up. You’ll all see soon enough. Keep the faith.

    • Well hopefully they do decide to send Cody to the AZ site once Trea Turner is here but with Roberts and Co. don’t count on it. But I honestly hope that what we don’t see is Roberts sitting CT3 and /or Pollock in order to keep Bellinger’s defense in CF.

  10. I really like this line up tonight. Unbeatable don’t you think. We the fans have really been little upset with Roberts slow mo attitude. We see it and he’s finally coming around.

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