Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts has had his fair share of critics over the years, most notably for his bullpen management in big games.
I’ll admit it, I’ve had my share of screaming matches with my tv when I don’t agree with a call he makes and it ends up backfiring. But at the end of the day, there is a reason why he has remained the Dodgers’ skipper these past 5 seasons and I am merely writing about his decision-making after the fact.
The bottom line is that the players trust and respect him. Roberts puts such an emphasis on building his players up that he almost seems to do it to a fault. And while many times this type of leadership can get him into trouble, that wasn’t the case during the Dodgers Game 7 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
While the Dodger bats took their time heating up, Roberts was busy managing a bullpen game in their biggest test of the year thus far. The night got off to an ominous start with Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin both getting touched up for a total of 3 runs in the first 3 innings, but every move from Roberts after that was absolutely brilliant.
A different night, a different ‘pen
Only a few short days ago, the Dodgers bullpen was roughed up by the Atlanta bats in a way that we haven’t seen this season. LA’s best relievers couldn’t get the job done, which led to the 3-1 series hole that the Dodgers had to then climb out of.
Last night, however, they did not let their manager down. After the duo of May and Gonsolin gave up 3 hits and 3 runs over the first 4 innings, the bullpen was lights out the rest of the way. Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol, and Julio Urías were absolutely phenomenal, helping keep LA in the game while the offense figured out the Braves pitching staff.
Dave Roberts Finally Got it Right
Game 7’s are incredibly fun for the players, they are stressful for the fans, and they are an absolute nightmare for a manager. Every move could make or break the season, and Dave Roberts has already had his fair share of breaks throughout his time in LA.
This time around was a different story, and according to the MLB on FOX team of analysts, it was because he “managed from the heart”.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 19, 2020
Decisions were made in the dugout and not coming from the front office. That’s why the Dodgers are the [National League] Champions.
We will probably never know how the chain of command truly works for the Dodgers, or if Roberts is really told who to pitch and when. But what we do know is this: his decision to leave Urías in for three innings to close out the game while leaving Kenley Jansen in the pen was not only gutsy, it was the type of move that fans have been calling him to make for years.
It was the type of move that teams have always made against the Dodgers, riding the hot hand instead of inserting the “right” pitcher. It was a move that potentially meant the difference between a trip to the World Series or an early flight back to LA.
Dave Roberts made a call, and for once, it felt like a manager that was going with his gut and not the sabermetrics. He trusted his young pitcher and was rewarded in return. For a team that has most of the pieces to win, a manager that finally got it right could be what helps them get over the final hump.