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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Explains Pulling Clayton Kershaw After 5 Innings

Doc explains a decision that many fans did not agree with.



The Dodgers win on Saturday was soured by a complete bullpen meltdown. Dave Roberts went with some of his lower-leverage arms while up 13 runs, and the Angels almost staged a huge comeback. 

Anaheim put up 11 runs and closed the gap dramatically. Just a few more runs and they would have completed the biggest comeback in MLB history. But the Dodgers eventually went to some higher-leverage guys and locked the game down. 

Roberts’ decision to pull starter Clayton Kershaw after 5 innings was highlighted by the fact the Angels almost came back. But the Dodgers had a huge lead and keeping him in the game didn’t seem worth the risk. Here’s what Dave had to say about the decision after the game. 

I mean it’s short rest and he took it for the team as far as taking the baseball on short rest in May. So for him to go out on short rest and give us 5 innings of shutout baseball with a 13-run lead, there’s just not a whole lot of upside in my opinion to have him go 1 more. 

Kershaw left the game with just 71 pitches thrown in 5 innings. The Dodgers could have pushed him another inning, but no manager in baseball is keeping their guy in there with a 13-run lead. Especially while he’s pitching on just a few days of rest. 

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Kershaw supported Doc’s decision after the game, but he clearly wanted to keep going. The camera shot into the dugout after the 5th saw what appeared to be a passionate discussion about the move. But the Dodgers got it together and won. 

Time to get a streak going. 

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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. I know Kershaw didn’t want to come out, but Roberts made the right call there. The bullpen guys need to get their stuff together though, and in a hurry!

    • Really? Give me a break. Baseball games are to be won. Kershaw could of accomplished a shut out and momentum boost for the team. All Roberts did was add to the already low self esteem dodger dugout, not to mention extending a game over 4 hours and deflating records and egos of an already damaged team spirit. Right move, not even close.

  2. Santana and Clevenger should not be on the team! I can’t believe there is no one in their organization that are better than these two? How many games can these two continue to blow? Very frustrating! The starters have done the job not the ball pen. Roberts is no help either the way he manages extra inning games.

  3. Yes Doc, on short rest. His last start was nothing more than a bullpen session…1 inning, ~30 pitches. It’s not like Kersh went 7+ innings and threw 90 pitches. This was just another example of how Roberts misuses a bullpen.

  4. Roberts has no clue about managing his bull pen. He simply must go. He pulls guys for no reason and subs haphazardly. He rested the teams future on Jansen and was flat out wrong. Either find real closers or overhaul your decision makers. Ironically, the one guy management almost lost, Justin Turner, has carried the team. Rios is killing us, but Roberts stays oblivious..

  5. I guess everyone has said it all. He pulls his starters to rely on perhaps the worst pen in baseball history. If the had scored only 10 they would have lost! That tells it all. Besides Rios, they need to dump Raley, Neuse, Cleavinger, Santana., and White! How about throwing in Friedman?

  6. Roberts pulls him when his last stint was 1 inning and talks about short rest ? He is the Grand Master of excuses. Never takes responsibility, he is the worse, needs to GO/!

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