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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Talks Nationals’ Game 2 Strategy

It’s a bold strategy, Cotton…

Dave Roberts addresses the media on workout day ahead of the 2019 NLDS.

On a night where the Dodgers fell to the Washington Nationals 4-2 and the NLDS tied at 1-1, a finger could be pointed at a number of moments where things didn’t go LA’s way. All game long Nats ace Stephen Strasburg got into and out of various levels of trouble only to escape. At the end of his night, he outdueled Clayton Kershaw 1 earned run to 3.

Recognizing the weight of a win on the road in a short series, Washington manager Dave Martinez played all of his cards… including calling on game 3 starter Max Scherzer for 1 shutdown inning in the 8th.

On the move, LA manager Dave Roberts admitted he was surprised to see Mad Max.

Yeah, we weren’t expecting that. Obviously it’s a big game for them to play for the split in the series on the road… yeah, I was surprised.

It’s easy to be surprised when you know that Scherzer had tossed 77 pitches over 5 innings just 3 days prior. It was only the 35 year-old’s 4th postseason relief appearance in 18 games. In previous attempts, he had allowed 4 earned runs in 4 innings pitched.

Where it’s more surprising is that Scherzer is still expected to start on Sunday in Washington against Dodger lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. As Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post notes, this could in fact be the Nats strategy for the postseason, not just a desperate need to pick up a game on the road at Dodger Stadium.

Of course with the Nats bullpen (4.41 ERA in 473.2 IP) it may actually be more out of necessity over a need to get side work in for their starters.

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.

8 Comments

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    • Exactly. Here is the new strategy for games the next series. Not in the playoffs, the next series in 2020. CONTACT. RISP left on base and record strikeouts cannot be our legacy.

  1. We got a team of choke artists. Let’s face it we weren’t challenged much in the NL playoffs in 2017 and 2018 that’s why we made it only to lose to the first team that was equal to or greater. This year we’re getting it in the first round because WSH actually has legit pitching

  2. I’m watching the Yankees putting on a hitting clinic against the Twins. Lots of contact. No home run swinging strikeouts. The schizophrenic Dodger batting needs to decide which one is batting. We need some consistency, and that starts with the coaching.
    Here is what the Dodgers must practice in 2020 Spring Training. 1) Hitting to the opposite field. 2) Contact. Not every swing needs to be a home run. Contact will take care of itself.

    • In 2016 NLDS against the same Nationals, Dodgers hitters were very patient, they adopted the strategy of “working the count”, in Game 5 against Max Scherzer, Justin Turner worked the pitching count to 13 pitches in his first at bat, so did rest of the Dodgers hitter that racked up Scherzer’s pitch count to over 90 by the 5th inning, by the 7th inning Scherzer was gased out, give up a homerun to Joc Pederson on his first pitch. Also in Game 2 of 2017 NLCS against the Cub, they worked Jon Lester’s pitch count to 103 by the 5th inning which forced the Cubs to pull Lester early by the 5th. So why can’t they just work the count? Apparently this new Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc is not a fan of working the count, but focus more on first pitch swinging. Just look at Seager, Pollock, Bellinger, all swung at too many bad first pitches then fall behind on the count right away. And most of the first pitch swings were homerun swings. This may have worked in the regular season but the playoffs are totally different, opposing pitchers will not give hitters a good pitch to hit on the first pitch. This has now backfired on the Dodgers. I don’t see how this team can win two at Washington DC. Not to mention Ryu could very well choke in Game 3. This series is over, what a wasted season because of poorly managed hitting.

  3. DODGER HITERS SWING AT ANY THING WITH IN 1 FT. OF THE PLATE. CAN NOT TELL A BALL FROM A STRIKE, MUNCEY STRKES OUT LEAVING MEN ON BASE MOST EVERY GAME,MANY TIMES W/BASES LOADED. PUT MUNCEY IN THE OUTFIELD , KIKE ON 2ND BELLI ON 1ST MATT IN CENTER PEDERSON IN LF. STOP PAYING THE OLD HAS BEENS ,PAY REAL PLAYERS. ROOKIES HAVE BEEN A LIFE SAVER . NEED VERDGO BACK

  4. Anyone who has played baseball, watch Cody stepping in the bucket or first base with his front foot and his front shoulder flying open. He can’t hit the outside pitch and loses power doing it this way. Why aren’t the Dodgers coaches and video people making him aware of it so changes can be made?He also has to stop trying to pull every pitch and go up the middle or left field. The Dodgers are in trouble right now and could be eliminated very easily if their hitters don’t make adjustment. What’s wrong with Pollock? He didn’t hustle on the ball hit by Zimmerman and he should not be batting third against right handers .especially power right handers..Kershaw is a shadow of himself. Two pitch pitchers are not made for a playoff run. It’s looking like the same movie we’ve all seen the last two years.

    • I’m not really seeing a Dodgers’ pitching issue this series. It’s all batting. Inability to hit to the opposite field when they have given you that open field. The continual home runs swinging at every at bat is old and it is costing us dearly. 17 strikeouts in one game, in the playoffs! Who is coaching these guys? Good grief.

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