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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Has No Idea Who Will Start at First Base Tonight



That injury to Max Muncy is certainly looming large for the Dodgers. In a worst case scenario, the team lost its All-Star first baseman in the final game of the regular season after an ugly collision at first base dislocated his left elbow and has kept him sidelined since.

In four postseason games, Dave Roberts has deployed three different starters at first base, none yielding phenomenal results. Matt Beaty went 0-6 in two starts. Cody Bellinger started a game and went 1-4 with a 2-run double. And tío Albert Pujols started and went 2-2 on Monday night in Los Angeles. 

Saddled without the team’s leader in home runs and runs batted in, Roberts has tried a bit of everything to fill the void. And, as of postgame last night, he really has no idea who will start in Tuesday’s do-or-die game 4.

As far as [Tuesday]… when you’re trying to replace Max Muncy, you’ve gotta kind of piece it together for that spot. Like I’ve said early, just because you start the game you might not finish. Trying to get the right matchups. So, I gotta think through it, but the guys at first base have done a nice job.

Nice job or not, anyone Dave runs out there certainly won’t carry the same fear factor as Max Muncy.

Anthony DeSclafani gets the ball for the Giants tonight at Dodger Stadium, where he’s struggled over his career. In 5 starts in LA, the right-hander has a 3.90 ERA (12 ER, 27.2 IP). Moreover, against the Dodgers in his career, he’s been even worse posting a 5.84 ERA in 12 starts. Finally, in 2021 alone, DeSclafani has a 7.33 ERA in 6 starts against LA but blanked them for 6 shurout innings in September.

Of the first base options for the Dodgers, Albert Pujols is 1-3 in his career, Matt Beaty has never faced him, and likely starter Cody Bellinger has just 1 hit in 12 at-bats (.083).

NEXT: White Sox Pitcher Suggests Astros Cheating Again, Why MLB Needs a Dodgers Astros World Series

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. It won’t matter who starts at 1st unless the offense shows up tonight. You can quote stats until the cows come home. It’s as simple as, get it done or enjoy your off-season.

    Let’s go Dodgers!

    • Unfortunately, the Giants have outsmarted the Dodgers with technology. They are using pitching machines in practice that throw game-speed fast balls and wicked breaking balls instead of some old guy throwing slow-pitch, 40 mph tosses.

      This article explains it: https://www.thescore.com/mlb/news/2200462

      And unfortunately as well, the Giants have apparently gone beyond simply using pitching machines in batting practice. I read elsewhere that they are programming those machines to emulate the precise pitches and speeds of the expected starting opponent pitcher.

      No wonder the Giants have taken average hitters and substantially improved the hitting of the whole team.

      It’s time for the Dodgers to do similarly and get that technology and use that approach.

      Hopefully, LA can overcome that disadvantage in the next two games.

      But if not, the Dodgers will have the whole offseason to see if they can get similarly-capable machines and effectively program and use them.

      If stubbornness will not get in the way of change . . . .

    • Kirk, DR can’t grab a bat and go out and play. This dismal display is all on the Front office. Letting proven playoff players leave? DR can only deploy the available resources, he can’t force them to perform.

      • Thank god he can’t play. True but his ever changing line ups, futile line ups with the division on the line all season, and failure to play fundamental baseball by insisting these guys learn to hit and run, bunt etc. is just as big a problem especially right now when they go into a offensive funk. NOT playing situational baseball is on the manager period. Many say the FO is the one’s dictating DRRRR’s managing? Well then why the H-ll is he even the manager if that’s the case?

        • Pretty much the case here and this offense has failed to show up on many occasion this year when it matters most. The lack of situational hitting has been an issue all year long.

          • Kirk,

            Exactly!

            It falls upon the manager and coaches, starting in spring training to get the reps in for ‘small ball’.

            I’m not going to bash the boys that play. Leadership and gamesmanship start and end with those in charge, and in the dugout.

            This team has guys that can play small ball, failure to use them comes from the dugout.

        • Kirk, Kapler has had a different lineup for every darn game too. Giants are hitting, Dodgers aren’t. It’s that simple! If it weren’t for “Babe” Urias, Dodgers might have not scored the entire 3 games!!

        • How about this….

          From the dugout, the manager sends a signal to his 3rd base coach, who in turn, gives the sign to the hitter at the plate to bunt.

          Roberts indeed can make or break a game with his in-game decisions.

          That was just 1 simple example…..

          Maybe tonight, when the shift is on, SOMEONE will drop a bunt?

          • Doug, I will most definitely agree with you there.

            Gotta pull out all the stops here in an elimination game.

          • One other interesting note….

            During the season, Roberts played McKinney quite often, as if he was the second coming of Babe Ruth…. that decision alone cost us a number of games.

            Fast forward to the playoffs, Roberts puts Billy Mc at 1st base a number of times (a whole other topic), yet he has not once allowed him to hit.

            Things that make you go, hummmmm.

          • Doug, the problem is, if you don’t practice bunting, hit and runs, squeeze plays, then it fails more than it works. This team doesn’t do any of these things EVER. So the days when the Dodgers actually did these things, they won multiple World series. Maury wills, Tommy davis etc. etc. etc. Davey lopes, Russell , they could all hit and run, steal bases etc. There’s no one here or in the Dodgers organization can tell me that style of baseball isn’t or wasn’t effective. We won at least 4 World Series championship because they DID play situational ball.

          • Kirk, please provide evidence of the cheatstros playing SMALL BALL in their ALDS series vs the White Sox. They’ve only produced 28 runs (so far) over 4 games. Small ball is not the only issue. Has more to do with player’s playoff performance. Some guys are just built for October while others are not. It’s that simple.

      • Dodgerfan4life, again Joc and Kike CHOSE to go elsewhere for a chance to play every day. With that said, the FO failed in getting adequate replacements. But it’s too late now for this year, which by the way could, and I say could end tonight if the offense lays another egg.

        • And Joc still ended up a platoon player on 2 teams this year. What an A-hole. Also Hernandez ended up having the same numbers as a starter as he did as a platoon guy with us

          • Don, very good points! I wrote this under a different story but I’ll repeat it here. Have a theory that the Front office held Kike partially responsible for Bellinger’s shoulder injury last postseason. Joc was less than average defensive outfielder who couldn’t even cut it when they tried him at 1B. So letting him go was less of a blow IMHO. But Kike was a gold glover at multiple positions! And he hit 3 HR’s in ONE GAME vs the Cubs in the NLCS!!! How in the heck do you let someone like that get away??? Just shaking my damn head!

          • Don, and let’s not forget the pitcher who beat the Dodgers last night. He was only an All-star on his first stint as a Dodger and the only starter to beat the Cheaters in Houston! All Wood did last year was put up zeros in the postseason last year. But alas our brilliant Front Office let’s him walk TWICE and signs the human nightmare BAUER instead! Nice going AF.

        • I was never a Joc fan, too much attitude….

          Funny, now when you see him, he looks like the older Kathleen Turner with pearls on. Not a great visual.

          Notwithstanding his current success the Braves in their current series.

          Now Kike, is a whole other story. It was the full-time playing status that BOS offered that the Dodgers could/would not. His clubhouse presence was a huge loss.

          • Doug, I know that playing time was the issue with Kike. But it’s on the Front office and Roberts to figure out how to get someone with his playoff record to provide it! They just don’t make many proven October players. If you are fortunate enough to have one, you don’t let them go!

  2. Your matchups are trash and have been all year. This is the worst bench we’ve had the last 9 years

  3. The obvious problem is that we have been shut out in 2 of 3 NLDS games against Giants – while I think Manager made questionable moves during some regular season games I do not think he had done anything wrong in postseason – unless the hitters have better at bats and produce some runs tonight neither the manager or the pitchers can save us

  4. I think last night was the first time all season DR has pinch hit for Bellinger, and it was a gust of wind away from a brilliant decision. If we lose tonight or Thursday, we have to admit they were a slightly better team, at least for this series and probably for the season. I’m no Roberts fan, but I can’t pin these two NLDS losses on him. It’s understandable that, against great pitching, the players would swing for the fences instead of trying to string together multiple singles. Sometimes it works, as in the WC game.

    • The loses are not managerial failures. Seager and the Turners 1 hit a piece in 3 games??? Sheesh! That ain’t gunna get it done!

      Tonight is another opportunity. Get it done or enjoy your off-season.

      • Trea suddenly started swinging for the fences at everything down the stretch and continues to now. Very odd

  5. Let’s all be clear on one thing. The Dodgers CANNOT attribute a series potential loss on being without Muncy. If they were to do that, what it thus means
    Some teams have what it takes
    And the Dodgers just have excuses!!

    • If they lose tonight it is going to be real interesting to Roberts post game comments. We all realize that he is the manager and doesn’t hit, run or catch, but part of his responsibilities are to motivate and teach. These guys who have been patient for most of the season are swinging or at least it appears that sometimes they are swinging just to swing their damn bats. With the way the wind was blowing last night why not at least make an attempt to go to right instead of trying to put the ball in the into the seats. It’s been said a couple of times here, but there is damn little fire in their eyes. IMHO and I have said this before, I believe they read and heard too much about how good they were and how they were going to shatter the all time wins total. Nobody is going to lay out the red carpet for the Dodgers and just hand them a title. If they come out flat tonight, that is on Roberts. He needs to motivate these guys and if he can’t, then he should not be in the dugout next season. From the players point if they can’t come out with the fire in their eyes, they only need to find the nearest mirror to see who is responsible for losing this series.

        • Who wants it more means sacrificing individual goals/glory for the good of the team. This Dodger team, for some unbeknownst reason, lacks team chemistry.

  6. Maybe Roberts and the Dodger players are just coming to realize that the Giants are a better “team.” The Dodgers have more money to spend and better marquee players. They just can’t seem to beat the Giants.

    • Tim, perhaps you are correct. I will, with all due respect, refrain from composing a eulogy until the series is over. It doesn’t look good for the Dodgers, but they been in this position before.

      • You’re right, the Dodgers have been there before and hopefully they can overcome the odds again otherwise the team will look much different next year. They should have kept Kike but he wanted to play every day and Roberts has his favorites so he walked and he’s doing his usual great post season hitting. We need a manager with fire just like Lasorda used to. And the players need to play small ball if Roberts wants them to.

        • In Roberts’ defense, as a player his POSTSEASON moment came playing small ball. I really don’t think he adverse to doing so. He did squeeze in last years WS. Austin Barnes homered and layed down the squeeze bunt. Why DR doesn’t play more small ball is surprising. However, the cheatstros have played no small ball and have managed to score 28 runs (so far) in 4 games. So tough to say it’s all due to the lack of small ball.

          • Ok final tally for 4 games NON SMALL BALL for the Houston Cheaters is 31!! Explain how they could possibly score so many runs without the aid of SMALL BALL!

  7. Absolutely, Dodgerfan4life. If our season ends tonight, so be it; but, it is not over (although not looking good) until it is literally over. Get it together, Dodgers; and, do not disappoint the tens of thousands of Dodgers’ fans in the stand or ( many more of us) watching on TV tonight.

    • Everything and I mean everything is on the table tonight. Looks like more wind tonight. Get it done or enjoy your off-season.

  8. Doug and Kirk, here’s a novel concept…

    Try hitting the ball to places where the defenders are NOT! Like the Houston Cheaters do. Produced 31 runs in 4 games. If you ask me it works! But what do I know lol.

    • Fan4Life….

      EXACTLY…..

      If I see a shift tonight, and no one goes the other way, or BUNTS, Houston, we got a problem!

      And, I still think you are Dave Roberts, looking for ideas on this website! lol Prove me wrong!

        • Doug, I can assure you that I’m not Dave Roberts. But I might be classified as an insider…shhh!

          • Doug, wow Manny Mota…possibly my all time favorite Dodger! The epitome of a clutch hitter!

            Doug, are you sure you’re not a stand-up comedian? You really crack me up.

  9. One of the unintended benefits of this series going to 5 games? It increases the possibility of Muncy’s ability to be available for the NLCS (if the Dodgers win).

  10. I don’t know if one can recover that quickly from a dislocated elbow at least for the purposes of playing baseball. There’s a lot of torque on an elbow in making a swing at the plate.

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