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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Explains Why Billy McKinney Continues to Start



Over his tenure as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dave Roberts has been criticized for many of his decisions, whether they pertain to the lineup or bullpen usage. One big decision that Doc has been routinely called out on is the repeated use of Billy McKinney. 

McKinney was acquired by the team from the New York Mets back in July after the team’s depth was depleted by injuries. However, the offense is back to full strength yet fans still take a look at the lineup only to see his name still there. After constant uproar from fans seeking answers, Roberts shined some light on his thinking.

I think the at-bat quality he’s been pretty good since he’s been here. I think the defense and versatility is very good. I love the way he prepares. He’s helped us win a lot of ball games. I just think for me it’s the consistency of knowing what you’re gonna get from the player.

While you can’t knock his defense, McKinney doesn’t offer much with the bat. In 28 games with the Dodgers this season he’s hit .174 with 1 home run and 7 RBI. However, he has also drawn 14 walks in that span as well. Still, that doesn’t seem to warrant enough to keep McKinney over someone like Matt Beaty who was producing at the plate while with the team.

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Beaty was recently sent down to Oklahoma City along with Lux to make room for the activation of Mookie Betts and Joe Kelly. Beaty is undoubtedly a much better hitter than McKinney, yet he was the victim of still having an option left. Even after giving his explanation, it’s hard to still understand what Doc is thinking when he runs McKinney out on the field or calls on him off of the bench.

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Written by Adam Salcido

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  1. It’s not hard to understand; it’s impossible. No way Pollock should be sitting in favor of McKinney particularly after losing the game last night. Baffling.

    • My Dad thinks the only sane reason is he’s tanking the division and going for the Wild Card. no one in their right mind would sit Seager and Pollock at the end of August in a pennant chase..Baffling to say the least,,,,

      • Kirk, I apologize if I am sounding like a broken record but that’s Roberts for ya. And Beaty is the better hitter and even though he may not be quite as defensively as McKinney, Dodgers aren’t losing too much because if Beaty was here, he can play other positions too. If you recall, Roberts give this same explanation about McKinney a few weeks ago.

    • The Dodgers lost last night because Doc didn’t use a pinch hitter for Johnson. Who couldn’t lay down a bunt and then promptly gave up a gopher ball pitching in the next inning. Beaty went down because of options. Belli should have been the one to go down to AAA however, but that would have gone over like a lead balloon. McKinney is a right handed batter who can give Pollock a day off. Doc likes to rest people. Back to Belli, no way I re-sign him and let Seager walk.

        • Beat me too it. Neither Belli or McKinney should be starting. Sitting Pollock and CT3 continues to show Roberts inability to manage. Sometimes I wonder if FO is actually paying attention to the lineups Roberts continues to parade out each night.

          • Pollock has been injury prone for over 5 years (dating back to the end of his tenure with the DBacks). We have LOTS of injury prone players (with the exception of Ch,ris Taylor, who has probably had 2 days off over the last 3 months…). The logic is that AJ doesn’t get reinjured (remember he was even already on the IL list THIS year too) or tired so he can keep his current form for October. Like JTurner, he is 34 y.o. Also, the achilles heal of this team this year has been defense, and like it or not Mendoza Line McKinney helps us out in that domain when Mookie is not available. Now that Mookie is back, but only held topgether with string and scotch tape, we need McKinney to sub for him occasionally as well. The day after the 16 inning game Max’s back was tight so that’s why he was in. despite what I wrote here, I was asking the same questions as you all just 3 weeks ago, but over the last few weeks i’ve come to see the logic.

    • Totally agree, 100%.

      Roberts stated in an article this morning, “He’s helped us win MANY ballgames”.

      Never in my life have I seen a journeyman hitting .167 (as of today) be so vital to a team loaded with All-Stars at every position. The Dodgers are now his 9th team he has been on.

      Enough with the ‘Spa Days’, LFG!

      • Thank Goodness for Baer handing the Dodgers the game in the 8th last night. Everything we were all griping about yesterday played out, Mckinney struck out a bunch and went o-fer, also missed a ball off of his glove that led to a colorado run. Bellinger did his usual leaving what 6 on base? Betts another 0-fer batting 3rd. Roberts Predictable as usual and the team fringing on collapse with his lineups and roster flubs…Today is a must win game once again because the Braves and Vagiants follow with 6 games, and they’re not going to walk in runs to help Roberts futile line ups….

  2. Ready to try Trea Turner in center, Muncy at second, Pujols at first so we can send Bellinger to AZ to work on his swing. Or play Betts at 2nd. Even McKinney is out performing Bellinger now. Muncy’s back issue might mean, he can only play first.

    • Rick, I believe Dodgers will keep Trea Turner on the infield as per his preference and Dodgers need to respect that. Even if Bellinger was not in lineup, the OF is covered enough so as not to ask Trea to play in OF.

  3. I loved Matt Beatty. My question is this why doesn’t Dave Roberts assign Cody Bellinger to Oklahoma who is Batting under 170, where he can get his swing back. And they always have a extreme shift on Bellinger and the whole left side of the infield is wide open for a bunt. I just don’t understand.

  4. I love Matt Beaty. He is a strong presence on the left side of the plate. My question is this, why doesn’t Dave Roberts option Cody Bellinger, Who is only batting 170 and never try to but even though the left side of the infield is always wide-open.

    • How many teams had 4 players in their starting lineup yesterday batting under .200. I won’t go to another Dodger game as long as Robert’s is pulling all the wrong strings.

  5. DAve’s thinking……aaahhhh, ” He’s had quality at bats since he has been with us” another Reason Beli is in the line up and oh left 6 men on base last night……

    Why hasn’t Dodger Brass mentor Roberts

    Weak

    • Good question, Kingman. I can only guess that the FO will mentor Roberts should he somehow manages Dodgers to get bounced from that one and done WC game. I’m not sure Dodgers can catch Giants at this point but obviously hope I’m wrong.

  6. I knew Dave Roberts when I worked at BOTH of his high schools. He’s a nice man and a mediocre manager. If the Dodgers don’t win the World Series, this year, fire Roberts and hire Bruce Bochy!!!

    • After last night’s win, Roberts has the fifth highest managerial winning percentage in MLB history — as in EVER! I may not care for some of his decisions in leading the Dodgers, and he is blessed with one of the best rosters ever, but it is impossible to ignore that winning percentage. Personally, I would never want to see Bochy in the Dodgers dugout — he is the antithesis of bleeding Dodger blue.

      • So Cal, love your positive take but Roberts record against teams above 500 is avg at best over that time. He’s been managing in the worst division with exception to these past 2 years to attain that winning percentage. Loaded rosters and big money spent would allow anyone to manage this team.

          • SoCal….

            Put Roberts with a last place club, a bad lineup and show his managerial brilliance. When you have All Stars at every position/pitching staff, the team wins despite Roberts…..

        • Not always the worst division. As recently as 2018, Colorado and Arizona were both wild card teams.

      • “Roberts has the fifth highest managerial winning percentage in MLB history — as in EVER”

        I believe, as many do here, that…that record is a reflection on the front office.

  7. Remember when Roberts was singing the praises of LH hitting outfielders Raley and Beaty. The reason McKinney is playing — Andrew Friedman traded for him, controls the roster, and is Robert’s boss.

      • Kirk….

        According to Roberts, ‘Babe’ McKinney’s ‘superior plate discipline’ is the reason he is used so often….. You can’t make this s**t up!

        What planet is Roberts on? Obviously we are not watching the same guy.

        • Good question here, but one thing is McKinney at least was a step up from guys like Reks and Raley.. with a RHP going for Rockies today, expect both Bellinger and McKinney in the lineup and Betts and Smith won’t start. (Day game after a night game)

      • Not what I wrote — “The reason McKinney is playing — Andrew Friedman traded for him, controls the roster, and is Robert’s boss.”

  8. Once again a major league ball club being managed by a utility player with tunnel vision. The Dodgers have the best lineup in baseball but yet Dave never puts them on the field together. Plus when he does they never know the batting order. Can we please do a test Dave? Here is your lineup for the wee, you can make the order but stick to it please. Players play better when there is consistency and they know who is going to be hitting in front and behind them. Example: if Will Smith has Muncy hitting behind him do you think he is going to see the same pitches as if having Bellinger following him. Dave we know you were a utility player and never knew where you were going to hit but please change your thinking on messing with the best lineup in baseball. You give away some very important wins and I must tell you Dave “WE ARE IN A PENNANT RACE”

    And by the way dump your lefty righty batting order it makes no sense. And no more days off until we clinch the division

    Starting Lineup
    2B. Trea Turner
    RF. Mookie Betts
    SS. Corey Seager
    1B. Max Muncy
    3B. Justin Turner
    C. Will Smith
    LF. AJ Pollock
    CF. Chris Taylor

    • Very good line up. Roberts is an idiot, period. The reason Beatty, McKinstry and Lux were sent down is that they have options. You cannot send Bellinger down as he would be a free agent. However, the outfield should be Pollock in left, Taylor In center, and Betts in right, period. McKinney is a good defensive outfielder who cannot hit. It is BS for Roberts to say that he helped win games. I will say that Beatty is a poor defensive player, no matter the position. He will make a good DH. Smith is turning out to be an outstanding player. He need to work on his defensive skills but that will come. Barnes is a good defensive catcher, but cannot hit. I do agree that the batting order needs to remain constant. Too much changing around is a distraction for the hitters. Again, ROBERTS IS AN IDIOT!!!!

    • you are so right bench these stiffs until the pennant is clinched why in the world would you play guys hitting under .200 because they figured its the Rockies one of the worst road teams why not go the pitching by relivers again . It was an insult that JT pitched I am a true blue Dodger fan but the Rockies showed them up Dodgers play to other teams level and it bit them twice that and the inability to hit with men on base time and again. DR has to go he is ruining the pitching staff if fans think that getting Kershaw back is our savior think again .How many innings will he pitch before DR trots out 3?

  9. So todays lineup…..1. Turner, 2.Muncy 3. Pollock.4 Seager 5.Taylor. Then 4 straight outs. So this game out of 27 outs, the Rockies will only have to focus on getting 15….No Betts or JT …. 6. Bellinger, 7. Mckinney 8. Barnes..9 pitcher….. So Taylor will get pitched around with Bellinger following so in essence 4 hitters the Rockies will only worry about….Perfect storm for another loss with a bull pen game…But we’ll see, Roberts has that 600 winning percentage, 5th best all time….

  10. Well, Roberts is at it again today…..

    6 – Belly @ .169
    7 – McKinney @ .167
    8 – Barnes @ .208

    He just gave away o/a 16 at bats with this lower 1/3 part of the order.

    Roberts does not play to win.

    • Unless Roberts knows something all us fans don’t…..

      Maybe the game is ‘fixed’.

      Makes no sense that when a shift is on, and the L side of the infield is wide open, not one batter bunts for a base hit. Not one, league wide, as far as I know.

      Just sayin’

    • Well Doug , if you think about it he does this every game with Bellinger and Mckinnley. Once again today the one good threat the dodgers have Mckinnley K’s……WTF is wrong with this picture? Over and over and over…Beaty guaranteed will be playing for the Giants next year, or the Padres.

    • And the wrap up…….

      Belly 1-3 great in the outfield. I don’t have as big of a problem with him as others, but get it….
      ‘Babe’ 0-2 2K’s and great at bat discipline today
      Barnes 0-3 and a disaster behind the dish today

      Starting lineup today of the 6-7-8 hitters today, 1-9

      As the Dodger world turns…..

      Bets for tomorrow against ATL, what players will get a ‘Spa Day’? No need for urgency, we are ahead in the standings…. oh wait…????

    • I don’t think they care because 1. Roberts puts out a inept line up and they all know it, 2. The Vagiants lost. 3. there isn’t a big crowd to inspire them…..Pathetic is right…..

    • Paul:

      And they won’t do well in the playoffs for the same reasons. Underwhelming – again.

  11. I can’t help but wonder how many more sub .200 hitters Roberts can find …. is Mario Mendosa still available? I would like to know how many games Roberts has lost because of playing people who just have not hit all season and really screwing up the pitching selection.

  12. Beaty is better than Belli and McKinney. The statistics prove it and Belli needs to work on his terrible batting at OKC.

  13. Coach has a love for rally-killers. He will continue to pencil-in these automatic outs into the lineup card and defend by saying something akin to “he’s giving us quality at-bat’s”. Dose of reality for you coach, but you can have 1000 quality at bat’s and zero hits. So expect the Taylors and a bunch of dudes trying to stay above 200 batting average, and even dudes trying to stay above 100, because after all it’s won (cost) us many world series titles. Few more seasons and we’ll have a lineup full of Taylors and Mckinneys. It’s gonna be tough to win a playoff series against us with MS, CK, WB, and JU…but we cannot win unless we score some runs against good pitching

  14. this playing guys who can hit a lick is nothing new remember Curtis Granderson he was awful

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