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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Defends His Decision to Sit Los Angeles’ Hottest Bats



Every game matters for the Dodgers, especially over the course of the next month. They’re chasing the Giants in the NL West and with just 21 games left in the regular season, time is running out for them to catch them. 

So when Dave Roberts sent out the lineup to take the series win against the Cardinals on Thursday, fans expected to see the stars. What they got was a decent top of the order from the Dodgers followed by some questionable decisions. 

Doc went with an outfield of Steven Souza Jr, Billy McKinney, and Cody Bellinger. All 3 of those guys have struggled greatly to get the offensive numbers going in 2021. He also went with Austin Barnes behind the plate to give Will Smith the day off. After the game, this was his reasoning for resting some big bats, including Corey Seager

Guys are going to have to have days off. That’s just the nature of this game. And we’ve run other guys out there and had the same results. That’s the great thing about this game, that it’s not predictable – as much as you can say it was and look back and say that it was. We know that our offense has struggled with different guys at the bottom than today.

The Dodgers are in the middle of a stretch of games where they will play 13 consecutive games before getting a day off. Naturally, Doc is going to make sure some key guys get days off to stay fresh. It just so happened that some of the biggest bats all got the day off on Thursday. 

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The Dodgers would go on to collect just 4 hits and lose the game 2-1. They fell to 2.5 games back of the Giants and need a big win over the Padres this weekend. But the bottom of the order went 0-for-12 between Bellinger, Souza, McKinney, and Barnes. 

It felt like the game had been given up on before starting, and that’s not a good thing. 

Dodgers: Dave Roberts Hints at a Possible Matt Beaty Promotion Amid Team’s Offensive Struggles

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. Actually Dave it’s very predictable when you sit everyone for BP game. That’s a losing mentality. I’m so disgusted I can’t watch until after the WC game. Provided they can win the WC game. Dave can still sit Corey and Max against the LHP they’ll surely see, rest JT for the following series, and play Barnes over Smith because that’s what his pitcher prefers.

    This game was more of a surrender than pitching JT in the 9th of a 5-2 game.

    • Can someone check Dave Roberts to see if he has a silent stroke? We’re in the last few weeks of the season, 2.5 games back of the Giants with just 21 or 22 games left to make up that ground, and Roberts sits the players most likely to give them the best chance to do it? I can’t think of anything other than a brain injury that would make him do such a bone headed thing. Couple that with his decisions to send Matt Beaty down and keep much less productive players in the line-up and not sit (or send down) Cody Bellinger you have proof that Dave Roberts isn’t serious about trying to catch the Giants and win the pennant.

      So, he wants to rest his players and keep them “fresh”. THIS IS THE END OF THE SEASON AND YOU’RE 2.5 GAMES BACK OF THE GIANTS AND YOU DON’T THINK THESE YOUNG PLAYERS CAN’T PLAY BECAUSE THEIR JUST TOO TIRED!? Seriously? Are you getting paid to throw the pennant? That’s what it seems like. Otherwise, there’s really no logical reason why YOU aren’t as urgent about catching the Giants as the rest of Dodger Nation is. All I can say is that the Dodgers will not win the National League West Pennant this year and they most certainly will not progress through the playoff on their way to repeating as World Champions.

      I really can’t watch anymore. With all the injuries, poor performance from players that shouldn’t be in the lineup and watching Dave Roberts completely mismanaging this team I just can’t watch it anymore. So, I’m not even going to watch them play or keep track of how their doing for the rest of the season. If by chance and some miracle they do win the pennant again I’ll begin keeping up with them. But, I don’t think that will happen. The Dodgers will lose the pennant, they will get knocked out of the playoffs and will be watching Tampa Bay win the world series.

      Man, Roberts, you stink so bad!

      • DS, I think you speak for most all of us and it’s a dan shame because this team has the talent to do it, just not the manager…..The Rams are playing sunday…….They’re coach/manager get’s it!!!!!!!!

  2. Too many options, and too many changes. We need something much closer to a set line-up, which would generate more confidence, and a more reliable outcome. Hitting, especially, is all about confidence, and a more set lineup would help improve confidence. IMHO

    • Johnny, a set lineup? That would never happen with Roberts as manager!!! Many teams have that and do better and resting one guy at day seems a better solution but “brain dead” Roberts doesn’t think so.
      We need a better manager and smarter thinking players that should feeling very lucky to make millions of dollars instead of sitting in the bench just watching.

  3. Roberts has rested players throughout the season in order to have them fresh for the stretch drive, then, when every game is vital to winning the NL West, he continues to rest players. Just awful judgment. Roberts is a nice guy who belongs in the Dodgers front office in the PR department, not the one-field leader of a team wanting to win the WS. And, Andrew Friedman is not without fault. Continuing to keep Billy McKinney on the roster with Beaty and McKinstry (even Gavin Lux) playing in OKC is awful. Stephen Sousa is the best Friedman could do for the roster???

  4. Watching a bullpen game is like watching paint dry. But having 3 players in the same game that dont hit during that bullpen is borderline criminal. I understand that guys need days off, but 3 in the same game is just crazy. Now with 21 games to play, we are 3 out in the loss column and most likely have a 1 game wild card playoff against the Padres and Blake Snell. In 3 or 4 games this year we have scored like 1 run against Mr Snell and the Padres.

    If the Dodgers are one and done in then playoffs this year, part of the blame goes to Roberts. Of course part of the blame goes to our pathetic hitting and going 3-4 in our last road trip. I am sorry but world series teams dont go 3-4 on pivotal road trips at the end of the season while fighting for a division.

    I am looking forward to football season so the taste of this past disappointing Dodgers season is gone.

  5. Roberts simply makes no sense…maybe the worst manager of the best team in baseball
    …sitting Seager and Smith…playing Bellinger yesterday.. Mckinstry/Bellinger…11 for last 121…on the field together…Beatyy….(262)…AAA?

  6. If your sitting players because you want them rested for the stretch drive, then the stretch drive is upon you and you sit them ANYWAYS your a liar. Your plan is failing because your Not following your lip service that you have been spewing to the entire baseball world ALL season. Then to compound the lies, you WONT address why you haven’t followed your own script. If dave roberts wants the baseball world to respect him, then he needs to own up to his own blabber. Which is it dave? Are you resting the players in the middle of a Divisional race because that was the AGENDA from the beginning? Or are you inept and think your way of playing favorites over your best horses is how 150 yrs of previous Championship teams did it? Whenever any of us have to defend ourselves we are either Guilty of wrong doing and Need to correct our mistakes, or we are Innocent and have been wrongfully accused. Roberts admits he’s sitting his best hitters right now when he’s in the Heat of the stretch run that he said he was resting for in the first place. Which is it Dave?

  7. On the one hand, he way the Giants are winning A. their luck will finally run out or B. We will need to win at least 16 games down the stretch. Last season we had the luxury of resting players with that huge lead. This year we are chasing. Would rather win the division but that calls for the strongest lineup with exception to Arizona. Would add Colorado, but…

    On the other hand, if we win the wildcard game, we still have the best pitching against anyone period. That said, its clear that we need to score at least four a game to win it all. And with this lineup we are capable of doing that in one inning.

  8. The lineup is on Dave’s cell phone an hour before he every game, courtesy of Andy Friedman.
    Dave types back, “yes, sir”.

  9. I have a feeling that Roberts will continue his insanity throughout the rest of the season.

    Probably continue to play Bellinger, as he ‘has no choice’, per Roberts.

    IF we HAVE to use Belli, perhaps he is moved to the 9th slot, maybe getting better pitches to see/hit (?) with either Betts or Turner to follow.

    Mr. Roberts, THIS is being creative with a possible better outcome, rather than throw out on the field guys who should not even be in the majors. Yes you, McKinney, yes you Sousa…..

  10. these guys don’t need a rest they have time to rest after the season they need their best players on the field when they are trying to win the division bellinger cannot hit anymore souza junior has not hit and mckinstry has not had a hit in a long time

  11. I agree with what EVERYONE above has said! Wow! Dave Roberts seems like a very nice and intelligent guy BUT the decisions he is making (with the season on the line) just doesn’t make sense and the results prove it!!!. Players need rest? C’mon-they have one thing to do and that is PLAY BALL! Then why put guys out there that are not going to be productive at the plate and have been proving it? I like Cody’s fielding- but how many times has he come up to hit in a crucial situation and wasted that at bat with a non-productive out? Aaarghh!

  12. I almost wish the Dodgers would lose the NL West, and then lose the WC game so the front office would be motivated to get rid of Roberts. He is completely helpless as a strategist. Yeah, they won the WS last year, but if I have a Ferrari and you have a VW Bus, I could put Pee Wee Herman in the driver’s seat and still beat you. GET RID OF ROBERTS. Paging Mr. Soscia…….

    • So, anybody who knows baseball knows that Roberts is a poor manager and that Andrew Friedman is no fool. Roberts is obviously being kept in the job for reasons other than his competence.

      So, who among those in the Dodgers’ ownership is protecting Dave, and why?

    • You may just get your (almost) wish because this is beyond ridiculous. Winning the NL West is fast becoming an impossibility for the Dodgers and a WC game is something none of us should feel comfortable with. At this point, it’s as if the Dodgers’ lineup is purposefully put together to embarrass struggling players, infuriate Dodgers’ fans, and to lose games. I love the Dodgers but this season has been very difficult to watch….but at the rate things are going, our postseason may very well be brief.

  13. One game surely matters if the Dodgers end up one game back and end up facing Blake Snell in a play-in game

  14. good bye Dave; no sense is saving best line up for spring training!!!!!!!!!!!!NOW IS THE TIME

  15. Well Dave, the youth soccer mentality (everyone plays) has finally caught up to you. The lineup has too many moving parts and it causes confusion and burnout. Bullpen games are Bull$h*t games. Same youth soccer mentality. Stop it. Give the players a mental break. While you’re at it, tell Cody B. to stop dropping the barrel of the bat on his backswing when he does swing. Low bat barrel at the start of the swing = low barrel through the swing. He gets under and inside as a result. We need this guy!

  16. Roberts showed he’s the worst manager in the game .But he better know this one thing; in that WC game he could have the best pitcing in MLB but it takes only 1 game for the opponent to out score you and your season is OVER.

  17. Mr. Roberts,

    With regards to resting players….. please ask the following guys about their ‘rest’ days…..

    LOU GEHRIG
    CAL RIPKEN JR.

    Mr. Roberts, you will never be a quality MLB manager. Hopefully your run as the LA Dodger manager has the same life span as the number of days between a players first ‘spa day’ to their most recent ‘spa day’.

    Good night, Mr. Roberts

    • Let’s add a Dodger, STEVE GARVEY, to that list of players who managed to do just fine through several 162 game seasons. Don’t remember much dropoff in his performance from 1974-1982, well over a 1000 game stretch as I recall. We won last night, Urias did great, Jansen shut the door, and for that I’m grateful. But it is agonizing at many times to watch the Dodgers this year. Scioscia would be an excellent choice to replace Roberts if a change is to be made.

  18. I, too, agree with most of the previous comments. I would like to see the won/loss comparison to these jerk off line up games Roberts conjures up. They aren’t working. One WS win in 9 straight division titles is BS, and Dodger fans deserve better. I’m sorry Roberts, but you suck!

  19. It has been obvious since July that Bellinger has completely destroyed his stance and swing and needed to either be sent to Tulsa or Arizona to try to work things out without harming the team in this pennant race. He is completely and totally lost at the plate, and sending him out there night after night to embarrass himself like no MLB player since Chris Davis has done is absolute madness.

    The real crime here, though, is that it is flatly obvious that Bellinger is receiving zero help from this coaching staff in getting himself corrected. That is a tragic failure in coaching, and heads need to roll after we lose this one-game wildcard playoff that this team should have never been forced to play.

  20. Folks, as SoCal said, Roberts belongs in the PR dept. and NOT in the dugout. He’s so inconsistent with lineups that’s the main reason this offense struggles. Memo to all here: you must hope and PRAY for the return of the DH because even if Roberts in his dumb ways cost the Dodgers in that WC game he will be back next year. Having the DH will protect Roberts from himself by not having to struggle with in game management like he has this year. Do you recall last year we never saw double switches, had a more set 1 thru 6 in the batting order, and key bats got their days of rest while they were still part of the batting order as that day’s DH.

    • Paul, what Roberts is doing right now by defending his lies, is basically flipping the Bird to the entire Dodgers fan base. he thinks we’re on him now? Just wait till he blows the entire thing then Blames it someone like he threw beaty under the buss earlier this year,,,…… OBTW, where’s Beaty? Where’s the roster moves today? He’s full of @#$%….

  21. Only defence he has is he cab’t manage.. and he will be blown away in the wildcard… he will never see the pennant… he is the worse with the highest payroll in baseball… get rid of this loser!!!!

    • Paul,It will be close but the Reds are only 1 game behind the Pads, 2 back in the loss column…The Pads By far have the hardest schedule remaining out of all of these teams ( That is if Roberts wakes from his manic state of delusion) And your right, he better hope the Reds get in there

      • Kirk we both know that Roberts won’t change and has said on many occasions that he would make these same decisions and moves over again no matter what. Again, our only hope is for the DH to return next year, but even better yet, IMPEACH ROBERTS!

  22. How can any team have motivation when the manager isn’t doing his job ! The players aren’t blind, Roberts is not trying to win games with the best players. All season long he has sat players, and made some very questionable moves in very important games ! We wouldn’t be chasing the Giants with a real baseball manager.

  23. I agree with most of what is written here . As far as Bellinger is concerned I think the shoulder surgery has set him way back . Sit him , play him late in games and give him a chance to get healthy . Anyone ever having surgery knows how long it can take to heal properly . I believe they have mismanaged that with him . You just don’t go from great to bad like he has. . Give him the support he obviously needs . I know he works awful hard , but you cannot work out of surgery like he has attempted , you can see how weak his swing is .

  24. Dave Roberts continues to amaze us Dodger fans. If you cant hit, have them play small ball, make them bunt over a runner, try stealing bases, try Double stealing, try more hit and run!!! Lasorda (bless his soul) was the best at getting sub-par players to play at at higher level!! this guy, sits in the dugout with his hands crossed… waiting for that “big” hit. C’mon, have you players play with more enthusiasm……..Friedman handed you the best roster ever!!! and you’re still making AAA decisions……OMG!!!!

  25. Bud Black (Roberts buddy) sure showed his colors….orange and black when he organized a sweep for the Giants at Coors Field! What did we get a Dodger Stadium: Rockies took 2 of 3!!!Bud probably was the leader of the hate Dodgers poll!!! Thanks Bud!!

  26. Wow lots of comments here. Everyone seems to agree that Roberts is incompetent. I hate it when I see him called “doc”. It’s insulting to those who truly deserve that title. Does Roberts have a PhD in stupidity?

  27. I have followed Dodgers since their move to L A & never thought I would ever hope they would lose it all ! If that is what it takes to get rid of Roberts then so be it. I believe they win in spite of his coaching and not because of it . His moves can drive you nuts ! He may be a great guy but not as manager, as such he stinks and it’s hard to watch…

  28. Leaving a reply after reading all the previous comments is difficult. All you fans know what is needed but the eggheads in charge don’t. McKinney, Souza, Bellinger are bench warmers, not starters on a world class team! And Uncle Dave’s defense of his poor decisions proves there’s not much under his cap.

    Sorry to be so negative but we’re talking of individuals who make millions in salary to supposedly produce an enjoyable sporting experience for we the public. This isn’t happening now. Hoping the remainder of this season will go better……

  29. We all agree Roberts is a nice guy but he is a terrible field manager, everybody knows that except his bosses.

    The player’s great performances have bailed him out in the past, they might not be able to this time.

  30. HOW CAN A BATTER GET IN RYTHEM WHEN THEY PLAY 2 DAYS THEN GET A DAY OFF. ROBERTS NEEDS TO TAKE A FEW DAYS REST AND LET SOMEONE MANAGE THE TEAM. IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE HOW THIS GUY STAYS EMPLOYED. BRING BACK MIKE SCOSICA WITH THIS TALENT AND I GURANTEE THEY WILL WIN.

  31. Dave Robert likes to see Dodgers losing I guess. His best player is Cody Billinger. Why everyday this guy on line up card
    I don’t get it????

  32. Justin Turner hits two homers and gets benched the next day? What is wrong with Roberts? Has he heard of Cal Ripken Jr? He played over 8000 consecutive innings. Turner really needs a rest after a couple of weeks? Roberts must go!

  33. I’ve supported Robert’s decisions, though I questioned some of them but thought maybe he keeps the players happy. Yesterday’s line-up has finally turned me against him. A terribly misguided experiment against a team we needed to beat.

  34. I imagine that Dave is right. His guys probably are tired…..TIRED OF LOSING! I truly hope that upper management gets tired of losing as well and buys Dave a hamburger and a bus ticket out of town after the season is over. Scoscia is sounding better all the time.

  35. I actually turned off the game as I knew they had a slim chance of winning with Roberts line up. We already have a weak offence and by adding four easy outs well what happened

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