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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Feels Target on Team’s Back More Than Ever

I’m more of a Wal-Mart man myself.



For the last eight to nine years running, the Dodgers have been among the best teams in baseball. And last year they were crowned the best of them all, bringing home a title for the first time in three-plus decades.

The Dodgers have always been a team with a target on their back. But winning a championship undoubtedly makes that target even bigger. On Wednesday, Dave Roberts agreed with that and then some.

“Absolutely, absolutely. And, that’s what we had expected. But, until you’re there, you don’t really know what it’s like.”

Doc continued adding a bit of context as to the extent to which the team is seeing increased intensity from opposing managers.

“We’ve always had a target as far as being the Dodgers. But when you’re reigning World Champs teams certainly get up to play like every game is Game 7. I think that we’ve seen it with how managers have deployed bullpens and the intensity that teams have shown playing us. It’s up to us to match that. And I know we will.”

Still, you’re the world champs… you have to get it up even more than the competition. And at times this season — particularly during this stretch of poor play — the Dodgers have not looked overly locked in. Errors are piling up. Opportunities for productive outs are being missed in favor of batters swinging for the fences or, if I may, selfishly. 

The 2020 Dodgers played a more selfless brand of baseball. That was most evident in the postseason. That club also played tight, clean defense… championship defense. 

Sure, injuries have put the team in tough spots with inexperienced players, but this has the feel of a World Series hangover much more than other teams just wanting to win more.

“No one feels sorry for us, said Justin Turner after Tuesday’s doubleheader loss. “We can’t take anything for granted. Still got to show up and do all the little things and play the game the right way. The bottom line is we’ve got to play better.”

Go play better already.

NEXT: Trevor Bauer Feels Team is Struggling to Put ‘Complete Games’ Together Amid Skid

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.

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  1. Kinda missing the days when a Kirk Gibson would threaten to tear up the clubhouse to light a fire under folks. They are truly sleep walking at this point. Too bad Doc isn’t the kind of guy to start screaming. They need something. “Lollygaggers.”

    • Pretty much sums up this current team right now. And Roberts didn’t have as many tough in game decisions to make last year as opposed to this year that he is truly struggling with. IDK but better decision making might have prevented Roberts from having to use a pitcher to bat late in the game or in extra innings. It also doesn’t help to play with a short bench either in order to have an extra pitcher instead on the active roster.

  2. Like I said before this year’s team is inferior to last year’s team to begin with. And even though the other NL teams don’t have a DH, this has hurt Dodgers more than others based on Robert’s decision making with playing a short bench, and having to use a pitcher to bat in key late inning situations because the team runs out of players. Injuries can de-rail a season but still no real excuse for the horrific offense in the last 17 games. The BP is also unable to hold on to any 1 or 2 run lead as well. Bottom line is that along with this page talks about, Dodgers will most likely miss October for the first time since 2012

    • it’s not like you to give up so easily!! frankly its so early the Dodgers could lose another 10 games in a row and still be in it as they get players back.

      • It’s not a case of giving up too easily, but there would have to be some roster moves going forward along with injured players returning for this team to have a legit chance to return to October once again.

  3. All of the Dodgers know very well that they have not met the challenge so far but don’t forget, they are still the same talented group that won it all last year, has won the west 8 years in a row, and are led by very smart people who will guide them through whatever difficulties they may face.
    Of course they are targets for every team they face, they would not want it any other way.
    Patience.

  4. The mental part of the game has turned negative, and as my old coach used to say when that happens, ‘You take your bat out to play defense, and your glove up there to hit with’. You can see that in Seager at shortstop, when he was hitting well, he was much more confident in the field, but now you can see a lack of confidence at both the plate and in the field. It is up to Roberts to turn that around, and you certainly don’t instill more confidence by sitting the guys that are hot, and playing the guys that are not. This fixable. The shift is another problem, IMHO. Trying to turn a dp is difficult enough, but when you don’t know where to start the ‘footwork’, because you in a completely different location, and you don’t know the direction from where the other guy is coming from, or even who the other guy is due to so much changing, then it is easy to fall into bad habits in the field. Pitching is also very mental, and you can see the lack of confidence there is a few guys, as well. That is going to be more difficult to fix, but overall, a more structured lineup, with fewer daily changes, I think would be a good place to start. When you are running out of players in the 11th inning, and the ball game is on the line, and you have to try to find a pitcher to pinch-hit, somewhere along the line, you have made too many poor decisions, and used players when no change would have a better strategy. I like Roberts, but he is ‘pressing’ just like the players are. Doc just needs to work on finding a more steady lineup, and not over manage the game like he has been doing. Doing that will help everyone recover some confidence, and let all play more close to their potential.

    • This year’s team so far can’t be as good as last year’s team becausevof 1 less hitter inthe lineup now. Dodgers utilized the DH to give guys a break off their feet while still allowing them to remain consistent and in the lineup. Roberts did not have to make the many in game decisions last year that we have all seen him struggle with this year. Injuries aside, the BP and the bench are a far cry from last year too.

  5. So finally someone agrees with me that one of the main problems is swinging for the fences. But it is not only the players being selfish it’s Roberts also. He does not know how to manufacture runs so he does nothing about the players swinging for the fences. Whatever happened to choking up on the bat with 2 strikes? Taylor is a prime example. 3 SO, 6 LOB with known moved over. Roberts needs to stop being the nice guy and manage the players and stop trying to be the best buddy. Remember the bunt. Lets start bunting down the 3rd baseline to beat the shift or try bunting to move the runner over since nothing else is working.

    • That’s exactly what I’ve been saying all this time that Roberts does not know how to be the boss but he’s always trying to be one of the guys and that’s not going to fix things!!!! I agree with you, Ed, ?…
      They have to be shown how to beat the shift by bunting the ball and move guys over!!!! Learn to manufacture runs!!!!!

  6. Where’s the leadership from last year? This never would’ve been allowed to continue last year. Betts and Turner need to have a serious meeting instead of throwing clubhouse parties for terrible defense and selfish at bats

  7. Friedman and Roberts have put together one of the worst bullpens EVER. When some team releases the worst pitcher on the team, there’s Frick and Frack there to pick them up.

  8. Rainbirds reference to Gibson is pretty much what I think of the situation, though I had Reggie Smith turning over tables in my scenario.

  9. “It’s up to us to match that. And I know we will.” – That’s it! Roberts has jinxed the rest of the season.

  10. Hi, I love the Dodgers, but I feel the Dave Roberts is not doing the job, We need to play small ball, thank you.

  11. Clint – are you predicting his return? “he’ll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, …”

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