Ahead of Wednesday’s matchup with the Blue Jays at Dodger Stadium, manager Dave Roberts was asked about challenges managing the starting lineup, and the bench around the modern day “opener.”
Los Angeles has faced its fair share of openers in 2019 after experiencing the new fad most famously in the 2018 NLCS versus the Milwaukee Brewers. Back then, it appeared that Dave and the front office were a bit more unprepared for the occasion, despite the club persevering and surviving into the Fall Classic for the 2nd straight season.
Now, Doc seems to understand his game planning a bit better.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) August 22, 2019
You don’t want to [pinch] hit too early and shorten your bench. And leave options open –that’s something I definitely think about.
This season, the Dodgers have seemed to fare pretty well against openers, but in that aforementioned NLCS, it didn’t seem much to be the case.
The primary case in point: the odd usage of David Freese. Freeser is historically known as a postseason legend. His career OPS in the postseason sits at .911 and his home run total is an impressive 10 in 65 career games.
However, in the 2018 NLCS, Freese often found himself out of the game before a lot of the action. He started 5 games and made it out of the 5th inning in only one. The Dodgers still willed their way to a 4-3 series win, but the fan base was often left frustrated with their legend already out of the game by mid-game.
As Los Angeles looks to take another deep run into October, Dave and company seem a bit better prepared for potential scenarios that may lie ahead.