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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Shares Expectations for Walker Buehler in Game 6



Certainly, this was not the way it was drawn up for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers, but in a season of struggles and curveballs, it is what it is. Scheduled game 6 starter Max Scherzer was scratched while still dealing with “general soreness” after a heavy workload this postseason.

Particularly heavy for a 37-year-old hurler.

In his place, Walker Buehler pitches again on short rest with the season on the line for LA. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts shared his thoughts on Buetane getting the ball for the win or go home game.

“We feel really good about him. Most importantly, Walker feels really good. I don’t want to put a number on what it’s going to be like. It’s about execution, performance. But as far as physical, mental, he feels fantastic.”

Buehler hasn’t been as sharp as Dodgers fans are used to this postseason. Entering October with a career 2.35 ERA over 11 starts, the right-hander has put together a 3.77 ERA over his 3 starts (6 ER, 14.1 IP) this year.

“This is something that he’s only done [once] in his career, so that’s an obvious challenge and an unknown,” Roberts added. “But as far as his body, mind, I feel very confident. … Even Max said it: ‘Walker was in a much better position to make this start today than I was.’ So he’s aware of that.”

Thankfully, the Dodgers have history on their side tonight in Atlanta. They overcame a 3-1 deficit to these Braves a year ago. And the club enters the game with a 7 game winning streak in elimination games.

The LA pitching staff has shouldered the load of an inconsistent offense all year long. Ideally, as they did on Thursday, the bats will show up and break out in a big way in support of big game Buehler.

NEXT: LA’s Offense, Not Pitching, Must Keep the Season Alive in Game 6

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. Dave Roberts mismanaged the Dodgers to a 4-2 NLCS defeat to the Atlanta Braves. When a manager fields a starting pitcher as relief pitcher, the mistrust on other pitchers — even unsaid — was obvious. The bullpen won games 3 and 5 but still Roberts chose to start Buehler on short rest and the result was the same and the series was over. Winter is here for the Dodgers and they must choose — move on by replacing Dave Roberts or suffer early exits in the Octobers to come.

    • I for one have not been in Roberts’ corner for quite some time, but this is not on him. We have a run in and runners on second and third with NO OUTS and what happens. Strikeout, Strikeout, Strikeout. Our super deep and super talented lineup could not hit their way out of a wet paper bag. We lost the first 2 games because this vaunted lineup went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position. Roberts did make a huge mistake using Urias out of the pen when he clearly had other options, but again this team has done this all year. They have an offensive explosion then fall flat the next night, done it all year! To me looking at Roberts as the game unfolded and especially in the latter innings he looked like a deer caught in the headlight of an oncoming train. There is going to have to be some serious discussions over the upcoming off season as to the direction the FO wants to go with Roberts. I am not sure who the right manager is right now, but they are going to need a hard look at replacing him. But again back to the offense, Trea Turner looked pathetic for the most part, he had a good game 5, but damn little else. He plate approach just plain sucked. JT had a terrible offensive series, but that man is the true heart and soul of our team and I will give him a pass, for one thing I don’t believe IMHO that he was at all healthy and tried to play through it. Corey looked pretty much terrible the whole series. Mookie had his moments, but when we needed a huge clutch hit in this game 6 he failed. And our bench, I said this many times before, but not resigning Kike was a HUGE MISTAKE and DFAing Peters was another one. We kept Souza, McKinney and Raley for what reason exactly? FO is going to have to answer that one. We kept Beaty down or sitting on the bench for what reason when he should have been in the lineup. One final thing that irks me is this short rest crap. I feel safe in saying that a lot of us responding on this site have watched the Dodgers since Brooklyn and watched some of the greatest pitchers EVER take the mound EVERY FOUR DAYS without having their arms fall off and they did not have the advantages of the conditioning and health supplements available that this current group has today. This so called short rest crap must make Sandy want to throw up. I have said enough, time to think about what is going to happen this off season and as always GO BLUE!

      • Harry, I’ve been probably the staunchest Roberts supporter here, and I must say I was truly disappointed by the in game management this series. The thing I struggle with is where is the boundary line between his decisions alone and those which are committee based. Difficult to know as we are not privy to that level of detail. Roster composition, at least in the past, is a FO responsibility. From readings we know that the pitching situation for game 5 of the NLDS was a committee decision. It remains unclear as to whether the game 2 decision to bring in Julio was as well.

        My take is the quants will win out over 162, but always come up short in October. The quants can’t measure intangibles. My feeling is they too heavily discount defense as well.

        Braves were clearly the better defensive team all series. They out-pitched the Dodgers as well. To me that is simply unthinkable given the storied franchise pitching legacy!

        • Dodgerfan I for one appreciate your steadfast belief and support of Roberts through this season. There are very few if any others who took that position. I know I did not. My opinion of Roberts is that he is a great people person who may be too involved in his personal relationships with the players and not enough of a disciplinarian, though that must of course only be an opinion because none of us has any access to what is being said behind closed doors. The decisions that are made behind those closed doors are what concerns me about Roberts, I am just not sure he has what it takes to stand up to the FO and tell them to do their job and he will take care of his responsibility in managing on the field where it really matters.

          I agree completely on the defensive side of the ball, we have been sloppy all season long defensively and it appears that side of the team was not given the attention necessary. There is one thing to me that there is one thing that you can not quantify no matter how may numbers you crunch and this is the human factor. Not everyone wants the ball when the game is on the line. Think of Madison Baumgarner, hell he would have pitched every day if they would have let him. He wanted the ball and did not shy away from that fact. Not too sure that tangible fits Corey, certainly fits Will Smith, Cody and Mookie and for certain Taylor. J T will never shy away from the bright lights, not sure if Trea will shine as the lights get brighter.

          The Braves to me wanted this much more than we did and they simply out played us on both sides of the ball. That must fall on the managers responsibilities to do his job! The Braves played this series will a clear edge emotionally. That human factor again. A lot of that falls on Robert, though these are men playing a boy’s game and everyone of them should want the ball when it matters most, but I just did not see that as being the case.

          There will be a laundry list of what must be done this off season and the manager’s job should be at the top.

          • I mostly agree. The Braves clearly wanted this one more. Dodgers put up a good fight game 5 but seemed to lack any desire to do the same game 6. 1st inning AB’s told me Dodgers were in trouble from the get go. Mookie’s post game interview confirmed it. “Not disappointed at all.” Are you kidding me? That is unacceptable!

  2. Thank You Dodgers, for ca Great up and down year. See you next year. Take this winter to study WHYtheF*&# you sat on sooo many pictches. Patience does NOT mean stupidity. Study. Watch film of your year. Disregard what management said. Syudy, practice and return better than fukkin ever!!!

  3. I never got the feeling the Dodgers played Game 6 like an elimination game. Game 5 seemed like it with AJ and CT3 leading the way. But Doc let too many things happen in game 6 without managing that game. That falls on him. would love to see the FO fire him, but who do they replace him with?

    • How about Bob Melvin……I lobbied for dusty baker back when Drrrrrrr was hired, so he’s out of the question: ( Oh Yeah, he’s going to win the World Series right now so he’s busy) Mike scoscia has been mentioned. Pujols would be good as a assistant. Basically anyone with Old school and new school ideals would be great. Give Drrrrrrrr a upper mngt job, he’s a good dodger just not a good manager and there’s hundreds of examples of that.

    • Joe, I agree about the different approaches between game 5 & 6. Game 5, as I asked for played “with their hair on fire.” Game 6? They waved the white flag!

  4. Hey if I give you my best shot and you beat me? I’ll tip my cap.

    Dodgers gave it there all in game 5. Game 6, I can’t say there was 100% effort by all. A few yes, others no way! All I ask is you leave it all out there on the field and I’ll take whatever the outcome is. Just leaves such a bad taste to go out that way.

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