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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Discusses Challenges Managing Around Opener

Back in my day an “opener” would be considered a bad starter!

Dodgers
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 15: Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks to the media before the game against the Cincinnati Reds on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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.

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.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

3 Comments

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  1. This weekend will expose all the cracks in the Dodgers managerial skills. Learn from this weekend. If the Dodgers analytics continue down the same road when reality is telling you to do something else, listen to that.

  2. The overuse of the opener did the brewers in ultimately in last years nlcs. By the end of the series the Dodgers knew how to get the better of every one of the Brewers relievers

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