Dodgers: Dave Roberts Explains His Odd Decision to Remove Brusdar Graterol

It did seem like very odd timing.

Friday night was a little bit of a rollercoaster for Dodgers fans. After taking a commanding 4-run lead into the 7th inning, the bullpen sort of imploded and allowed the Mets to come roaring back. All of that just so Will Smith could hit a 2-run bomb in extra and give them 

But a move in the 7th inning really had Dodgers fans up in arms. Brusdar Graterol struck out the first 2 batters of the inning before giving up a double to Michael Conforto. That’s when Doc made the switch and went to Justin Bruihl. The Mets would proceed to score 3 runs before Blake Treinen entered. They scored a 4th to then tie it on a passed ball. 

After the game. Roberts was asked to explain his decision to remove Graterol. The Dodgers skipper cited the run of hitters and Brusdar’s recent workload as a reason for pulling him out and going with the lefty. 

Looking at the next three or four hitters, they were left-handed. This was three of four (games) for Brusdar. We haven’t done that very often to him. For him to pitch today, it was a conversation. Justin has been good for us. So to give him two cracks to get through that inning to get the ball to the eighth and to not push Brusdar, I thought it was the best chance to get through that inning. A couple of unlucky, soft balls that got outfield grass.

Granted, Brusdar has gotten some work in recently. But he had also thrown just 9 pitches and there was no reason to think he didn’t have anything left in the tank. But Doc felt otherwise and went to the Dodgers lefty. 

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It seemed like an odd decision, and it’s a little bit easier to criticize when the Dodgers went on to give up the lead. But the good news is that they did get the win and Brusdar is looking great in recent outings. 

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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. We wouldn’t be having this conversation had Roberts not screwed up in top of the 6th. There’s no excuse for sending Beatty to hit for Urias with 2 outs and no one on thus costing the team another inning of Urias’ service and Beatty’s bat if needed later. Completely indefensible. Geren doesn’t get a pass either. What are these guys watching?

  2. Once again, he snatches victory away from his starter and almost the team with his ridiculous pitching moves. Using Roberts line of thinking a right handed starting pitcher should not be allowed to pitch to right handed batters and vice versa. Just because Roberts thinks he can explain it does not make it right. We are right back to the 2017 WS where Roberts strange pitching moves were just as responsible for the Dodgers losing as the cheating Astros.
    Roberts is a genuinely nice man who is great at building team chemistry and getting players to buy into his system, unfortunately he is a poor manager at strategy and creating a game plan.
    Friedman needs to hire a strong pitching coach and give him complete control over the pitching staff and pitching changes after the 5th inning. You know sort of like Roberts platoon system except its a platoon system for the what would be 2 mangers. Yank Roberts in the 5th inning and let the Pitching coach make all the decisions.

    • With Dave Roberts as manager, the Dodgers are playing .603 baseball, which equates to 98 wins in a season. Usually, 98 wins will win the Division. Keep in mind, most of the year he has been unable to field all 8 of his starting fielders at the same time, as we speak 25% of his ALL STARS are not playing, of the five starting pitchers, two, will not pitch again this year, one is a maybe. While injuries are part of baseball, the Dodgers have had an inordinate amount of injuries. That said, to be where they are, is a tribute to the Dodgers owner, front office and Dave Roberts.

      Dave Roberts led the Dodgers to a franchise-best 106 wins and fourth straight NL West titles. He became the first manager in MLB history to lead his team to division titles in each of his first four full seasons at the helm.

      • Yes but he’s had the best team in each of those 5 straight years with that talent Lasorda would have won the World Series at least 4 out of five. You put Roberts with the Marlins and he doesn’t win anything period lousy manager with the best team in baseball. Yes they had injuries but he’s still had better talent than giants so no excuse for the injuries even now without Kershaw and May and we still have the best four starters.No excuses.Dodger owners spending a lot of money no excuses.Kenley sucks he has no business closing games when Blake is way much better than him.

  3. Lame excuse by Roberts like always he is never wrong in his opinion. Grateful was looking better than Justin that’s for sure Graterol blew away Othani and he’s lefthanded. Julio only had 82 pitches and had shut out the Mets fit five innings he could easily pitched the sixth. It’s a miracle Dodgers won the World Series with this clown. But he’ll leave Kenley in there after 3 batters get on board and he just doesn’t have it and clearly he’s not a championship closer for last 3 years he’s already blowned 5 saves last 3 costs us being in first place cause giants lost during those last 3 bliwned saves. And we have lost too many close games clearly showing Roberts is not a good manager. No excuses cause giants don’t have half the talent we have.Too bad we don’t have owners with knowledge about baseball roberts and Friedman will fail this year.

  4. White Sox whith half the talent of the dodgers leading their division with an old school manager not a sibermetrics idiot.Bring Mike Sciocia

    • Friedman is fine- he built this roster and the farm system. It’s all on Roberts. I was never very high on Colleti either. Had his own dumb decisions that puzzled the rest of the league…

    • Luis Cortez,
      I definitely agree with you in all of your three comments!!! Roberts makes too many DUMB moves and lame excuses about his over managing but the owners don’t see it. I’m afraid we won’t make it this year if he continues to make stupid moves like last night’s.

    • It’s difficult to take any comment suggesting Friedman should be fired seriously. The guy is the best in the business.

  5. Julio could easily have 16 wins by now if not for Roberts dumb moves and it’s time to at least let Julio throw 100 pitches not just 80 give him same treatment you give to buhler and Kershaw and stop giving players days off now is not the time if our players can’t handle playing fir 3 hours with in between ending innings 20 minute breaks than it shows they’re not championship players . Let Mookie rest 30 days and if he still hurt than just rest him rest of the year. And if you can’t sign and convince Seager to move to third than just move Smith to third it just comes easy for catchers to play third base Johnny Bench did it after age 34 so no reason for Smith not to do it he’s more athletic than Bench,has a strong arm.Keep Turner as a David Freese type of player he slowed down and has no range at third he can only get the balls hit straight at himMckinney is not the answer he sucks we’re missing Joc and Kike’s production that’s for sure.

  6. Two poor pitching decisions, 1) taking Julio out when he was shutting out the Mets after 5, should have gone 6 given the recent bull pen problems, and 2) taking Graterol out after just 9 pitches, when he was blowing away the Mets. Too much strategy with right on right, and left on left, once again; Graterol never even got a chance to be successful, and Buihl was left to dangle in the wind when he clearly did not have it. I understand the successful record, and I understand the injury problems, but it does seem to be just one poor decision after another. They we lucky to win the last one. Every game seems to be a white knuckle situation, and we have spent the entire season waiting for one or another critical position player to return from IL and regain former performance levels. Were these guys in shape when the season started after spending weeks in Spring Training? The one run losses have been piling up since June, and there is no time for excuses remaining. It is win or go home time. With all this talent, who else is there to blame?

  7. As great of a feel good win as last night’s game turned out to be–it was one of Roberts’ most poorly managed games in recent memory.
    The mix-up with Beatty was just ridiculous and an indication that, at that moment, Roberts was not “in the moment” and lost in space, somewhere.
    Roberts sitting on his hands and watching the 7th inning unravel, was just brutal. Another example of him not holding a pitcher (Bruihl) accountable as multiple runs score, because the pitcher was the “victim” of soft contact hits and bad luck. As Roberts famously or infamously says: “The ball was coming out of his hand, well.”
    Thankfully, what was shaping up as one of the worst losses of this challenging season, ended up being one of the “feel good” wins of the season.
    It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers build off of the momentum of the win or come out flat in the next 2 games against the Mets.

  8. I’ve been a Dodgers fan since 1947. I can’t remember a game where I was this upset by a managerial decisions. Taking out Graterol after the double was perhaps the worst decision any manager could have made. The excuse that he didn’t want to overwork him was ridiculous. If that was the concern why bring him in at all. Did he expect him to get the side out in 3 pitches. Robbers managed as of his Touch ID Golden and every decision he makes of godlike. He’s great managing personalities and blending them, but tactically he’s one of the poorer managers. It’s hard to justify replacing him with his won-loss record, but I honestly believe with the talent he’s been handed he should have won multiple titles. Never been so disgusted with this years results. Of we don’t win it all he has to go. If not Sosscia how about A J Ellis ?

  9. First mistake let Julio hit and then take him out. He has never pitched so many innings and you could see he was tiring in the heat. This way Beatty is saved for latter. ( you could see him say I made a mistake). Second, leave in Braterol. He gives up one hit give me a break. Bruihl pitched the night before too so is line of thinking is off. Also, Bruihl has no fast ball 88 weak. Smith redeemed himself after 2 costly mistakes in that inning. Kenley can’t go 2 innings. They were lucky! Now 2-12 in extras.

  10. I am not so upset by replacing Graterol when he did but I am really disturbed by him putting in Bruihl instead of Vesia .. He would probably only had to face one batter then Treinen and Jansen would be able to have a clean, low-stress, 8th and 9th inning to work with….

  11. These comments blow my mind. It’s just like politics. People jump up and down with their feeeelings while knowing NOTHING more than what they see in front of them. It’s almost as if they feel they’re privy to all the information that goes in to making a decision. Given that most are clearly coming from people who wouldn’t know a jock from a slingshot makes it all the more mind-numbing. I guess it’s fun for people but I just can’t relate.

  12. Roberts costs the Dodgers a few to several wins per year due to poor strategy, as was demonstrated yesterday by not allowing Urias to hit and to face one or more batters in the 6th inning, taking out Graterol after 9 pitches, allowing Beatty to hit rather than getting his attention and grabbing that idiot insubordinate by the ear before he got into the batter’s box and allowing Beatty to attempt a steal. But his winning percentage makes it hard to fire him. But with a better manager, the team would have won about 20 more games during his tenure and maybe one more World Series. They consistently have the best talent due to Friedman’s excellent work (including finding cast-offs like Muncy who turn out to be all-stars, signing the likes of Treinen, Knebel even Jimmy Nelson) and the payroll.

    • Or did Beaty go on his own? Maybe he had the go sign because Trae had 2 strikes, but he is neither a base stealer or a good reader of pitchers. Also I think he had a brain fart @ the moment; when he should have known that he would PH only if CT3 is still @ 3rd w/ 2 outs. But he should have double checked w/ Roberts before leaving the on deck circle. He didn’t have to rush it to the box, especially @ a critical moment for a decision to be made.


  14. Many people disagree with pulling Graterol but I would have never put him in to begin with The can’t throw any mixed pitches so usually the batters know “here game his fastball” and maybe wild so there you have My opinion

  15. After reading everyone’s comments Roberts should retire or get fired, he is not popular and taking the heat for all these one game loses. Notice how he never puts a pitch runner for Big Al. His first base run is 35 second. I like him just don’t let him run. When the Dodgers get no hits by the 4 or 5th forget about it., Go for the jumbo Jack.

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