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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Rises Above Criticism, Managed from the Heart in Crucial Game 7

We have to give credit where credit is due.



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”.

Decisions were made in the dugout and not coming from the front office. That’s why the Dodgers are the [National League] Champions.

Final Analysis

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.

NEXT: Dodgers Win a Thrilling Game 7 and Move on to the World Series

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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  1. In my circle of family and friends the texts, social media were being burned up about the coming decision. Those of us in the room were terrified that Jansen was coming into the game in the 9th. When we saw Urias warning on the mound everyone was stunned. 1-2-3 and it was over. It was shocking to watch Roberts answer the question in his postgame. “I decided to go with the hot hand.”
    All the young fans that have grown up in the sabermetrics era probably didn’t even understand the significance of what he said.

  2. Finally!!!!! “I decided to go with the hot hand”. Duh. Doesn’t take a genius to figure that out but we know Dave and his decisions in the past that has resulted in disaster. Maybe there’s hope for a ring this year.

  3. d.r. finally made a great call to leave jilo in ,he was throwing great,i just knew he was going to bring janson in. janson had two great closing so great call d.r.

  4. Of course, there is hope for a ring. Many of us chose to believe that the Dodgers could get through Atlanta, so our trip to the World Series is not shocking; but, it sure is well-deserved. When any team faces challenges (as all teams do), there is always hope until there’s not, and its not over until its over. This was applicable even when the Dodgers were down 3 to 1 OR we justifiably question some managerial decisions (I, too, was concerned that Urias was going to be pulled out) OR our boys’ bats are cold OR whatever. During this series, the nail biting back to back to back “elimination” games were hard enough, but a loss of belief has got to be worse.

    With that being said, LET’S GO DODGERS!!!

  5. Can it be that Roberts has finally awakened to the fact that all pitchers have off-nights? If you have one that is doing well, leave him in the game.

  6. I’ve been saying this whole time that Roberts is a better manager than he’s allowed to be, he’s smart and knows baseball. All the sheep were blaming him 100% for things. Hopefully the FO realizes they need to manage from the gut from this moment forward. Let the Rays over manage

    • Baaaaaa … You give him a pass and blame the FO on pure speculation. I’m sure the the geeks give him a pile of stats and make recommendations before the game but there’s no phone ringing in the dugout during them. You think the FO told him to remove Hill or to run Kershaw out for the 8th?

  7. It will be interesting to see what the Dodger “Brain-Trust” comes up with for a rotation in the World Series. Especially when Buehler, May, and Gonsolin were all used in the past two games. My guess is:

    Kershaw – Game 1
    May – to start Game 2 – then a bullpen game
    Buehler – Game 3
    Urias – Game 4
    Kershaw – Game 5

    I’m predicting the Dodgers in 6 games or less if the pitching holds up and our bats start working, especially in 2 out – runners-in-scoring-position situations (think Muncy in bases-loaded situation in game 7).

  8. Thankfully, Roberts did not bring Keshaw into the game!!!!! Urias did a fine job,while May and Tony G did not distinguish themselves. A great team effort. I am sure the Blue Crew are still high as kites and ready to get things rolling tomorrow evening. Go Blue!!!!

  9. I “Personally” apologize for ALL the “Harsh” Comments that I made about Dave Roberts, over the last 1+ weeks. Again, I was under the assumption, he was bringing Jansen in, to close out the 9th inning,(another LIE, against what he made perfectly clear, 1+weeks ago); that Jansen would NOT be pitching any more 9th innings, in Oct. Even though Jansen did do well, in games 5&6; of the NLCS; We’ll see if Roberts can keep his words; and go with the “Gut” feeling, instead of his “Favorite” Player.

  10. If the Dodgers had lost game 7, Robert’s would be out of a job today
    That being said ….. Go Blue in the WS!

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