in

Dodgers: Roberts Explains His Decision to Go With Billy McKinney Over Others



The Dodgers are looking to take the final game of the series in New York and sweep the Mets on Sunday. With Max Scherzer on the mound to face off against Carlos Carrasco, the only question is whether the bats can get going again. 

They’re getting Justin Turner back into the lineup and that should help get things moving. But there was at least one questionable decision at the bottom of the Dodgers lineup. Dave Roberts went with Billy McKinney once again in right field with Mookie Betts on the injured list. 

There are obviously better options offensively that Doc could have gone with there. But the Dodgers skipper explained his decision to go with McKinney again in his pregame press conference. 

The value is that it’s a good at-bat in the 8-hole, he’s not there to carry the offense. He’s there to take good at-bats, see pitches, and turn over the lineup, which he has done. And with our roster where it’s at, he’s a couple of grades better than anyone else we can put out there. You still have to prevent runs to win baseball games. 

McKinney hasn’t exactly been an offensive threat with the Dodgers so far. Through 18 games, he is slashing .163/.323/.184 and does not have a hit in his last 5 games played. AJ Pollock, on the other hand, has been much better for the Dodgers. 

Dodgers Related: Justin Turner Returns to the Lineup 

This seems to be a matter of getting the best defense into the lineup that they could, but it still seems odd. But now that we’ve officially talked about it, don’t be surprised to see McKinney go of on Sunday against his former team. 

Dodgers Injury Update: Victor Gonzalez Returning Soon, Darien Nunez on the Mend

Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. So in order to have McKinney in RF, he sits the team’s hottest hitter in Pollock down instead of simply having CT3 play RF and Pollock in LF. Is it any wonder why fans are frustrated with this manager who makes one dumb decision after another? Honestly this is hard to believe.

    • So, why the hell didn’t we just keep , oh what’s his name…Mr. Peters….( who just went deep 2 times yesterday for Texas)…a home grown, albeit, weak hittter??? better on D…Fans love him…and when he hits…SHE IS GONE….like Rickey told Lucy…” YOU GOT SOM EX-LAN-ING TO DO”….

      • Let’s be honest. Peters is hitting .190 with a 35% KO rate. That might be good enough for a last place team? That being said the Rangers have presented DJ with an opportunity that he never would have got with Dodgers. I hope it works out for him.

      • Right on, Kingman! I saw yesterday that Peters went deep twice and has done well for the Rangers, actuly getting consistent playing time. But also there’s no pressure as far as expectations for the Rangers go. It’s a bit different playing there instead of on a big market high profile team like the Dodgers. Could we have used him now with Betts out? Absolutely. And consider a player getting a change of scenery helps out too.

  2. Sorry, he may be a great team guy, but I just don’t see it. Almost no threat at the plate, just a fair glove, speed & arm at best. With McKinstry back on the active roster, I’d use him over McKinney any day of the week. Or with the righty throwing & JT starting at 3rd, put Matt Beaty at 1st, Muncy at 2nd & free up Chris Taylor for Left or Center. McKinney so far, has just been a hole in the lineup where rally’s go to die…

  3. I can’t believe Pollock is down or out of the line up. Let me see here, he needs a day off or his wife is sick or it’s the Little League world Series. We are in the running for another World Series. All games matter. I can’t believe it

    • @Robert Lewis, you complain as if it’s Pollock’s doing. It’s our dumb, stubborn, needs to go manager. It’s insulting and demoralizing to the rest of the team to sit your hottest hitter over a weak hitter like McKinney.

  4. Just ridiculous! Zach Reks, Drew Avans, Matt Beaty… anybody but McKinney! I get giving Dodger players rest and days off but when you trade for a dud like McKinney and just keep playing him to save face for a dumb trade you give the other team a free out when chasing the pennant.
    DJ Peters just hit a couple homers today because the Dodgers prefer the chode unknown over giving there own a shot.

    • DJ was literally consistent at-bats away from getting his swing on time with the pitches in the majors. Dumb move; big benefit or Texas. Plus, he has a great arm and elite athleticism. The only way you learn to hit major league pitching is to face them! Not in a platoon, but facing righties and lefties…consistently.

      I hope he hits 40+ a year for the Rangers…

    • Do you also remember a similar thing Roberts did back in 2017 in keeping Curtis Granderson out there over others? We know how horrific Grandy was at the dish but it didn’t matter to Roberts.

    • I think Dave has some kind of dream about McKinney seeking revenge against the Mets for being DFA’d. I just don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling about a World Series Championship caliber team using a DFA’d player in a pennant run. All you guys are right. Reks is definitely “due.” I’d sure like to give him another shot. Even Matt Kemp is sitting at home with nothing to do. I sure wish Andrew Toles could pull himself together again. My point; all you guys are right. We have lots of better options.

  5. Beaty should be playing right field everyday until further notice. Roberts absolutely has a problem with beaty.. Beaty hits the ball every A.B… Mckinney is a choker and absolutely should be in Triple A….

    • Completely agree with you Sos. I have made comments before that I just don’t think he is the brightest bulb in the room. Way too often after striking out (which is clearly way too often) he has a look of it is what it is. Right not I don’t think he has a clue. He swung at a pitch in the Phillies series where he swung so hard his back was facing the pitcher when he completed the swing and the Philly announcers were all over him and his lack of approaching an at bat with the thought of doing something positive ie: moving a runner over or hitting a sac fly. This all or nothing approach is going to kill this team. But I regress, this article is about the inept manager the Dodgers have. Roberts clearly has some deep negative feelings about Beaty. What did he do last night except send one into orbit. There is nothing wrong with his defense and surely as good as McKinney. Roberts may be the nicest guy in the world, and I personally believe he is a great guy and player’s manager, but that is not what this team needs. I actually was hoping the FO would move him out as manager to whatever/wherever and hired Hinch. This is just my opinion, but every time Roberts walks or struts out to the mound he looks like someone who has a God complex, I am the boss and I know all and I don’t care what anybody else has to say. If he is allowed to continue as manager, this team is likely doomed come playoff time.

  6. Pollock in Left, Taylor in Center, Beatty in Right against a right hand pitcher. If necessary, Bellinger in Right instead of Beatty. McKinney is not even a replacement level player at this point. They won today but the defense was poor. 4 mental mistakes and/or plays that should have been scored as errors. Scherzer was fantastic to limit the Mets to 2 runs in 6 innings given the defense.

  7. If they really want defense, why did they release D. J. Peters? A guy with speed who can play center field and hit with power on the bench would have paired nicely with Pujols from the right side. From the left side we have Beatty and either McKinney or Zac Mckristy, or Gavin Lux when healthy. Austin Barnes would be your fifth bench guy.

  8. The defensive problems Sunday were due to the shift, and the Dodger shift more than all but one MLB teams. The shift creates the out-of-position situations, where no one knows for sure who is covering (mostly) second, and that confusion costs runs.

    • I agree. too much shifting and too much reliance on analytics. we should always be ready to make a force play at 2B.

  9. The thing that worries me about Dave Roberts is his loyalty to players (see Kenley Jansen and at times Clayton Kershaw) who are no where the players they were 5 or 6 seasons ago. Jensen should not be the closer and Kershaw is not the number 1 pitcher on the staff (Buehler and Scherzer are the two best). I have flashbacks at times to September, 2017 during that horrific 1-16 stretch when Roberts kept running out from teh bull pen the God awful Pedro Baez to screw things up.

  10. The comments today are great….and I agree with most of them 100% as I’ve posted…on the other hand….
    Dodger’s have won 8 straight W.Div. Crowns…& we are the WS Champs

    If you only fairly, give us credit for one WS win(2017/2018) then he has done one hell of a job….
    Players, all things being equal …. will want to come to a club where the Mgr puts the player first…..(Dont ask Joc or Peters)…….There is no Walter Alston coming thru that door……….WHO THEN,,SHOULD BE MANGING THIS CLUB OF OURS…..

    • The teams that have won 8 consecutive division crowns and a world series were won in spite of Roberts. He has made damn few good moves and way more than his share of bad moves. His match up moves have cost this team many times during his tenure. If a guy like Beaty leaves in free agency he will most likely flourish wherever he ends up as Peters is doing and Joc. Putting a player first does not mean putting the best player first. His job is to win, period and manage to that end. Had he done a better job at managing, the Dodgers may well have several more titles under his tenure than the won last year. It was great to win it all last year regardless of it only being a 60 regular season, but just what he do. He had a loaded team that won that title not his managing.

  11. Regarding DJ Peters:
    Does any Dodgers’ fan really believe he’d be hitting multiple HR’s if he was still a Dodger?
    I’ll bet that if the Dodgers had Peters playing RF instead of McKinney, we’d likely be seeing Peters flail away at the plate, just as he did earlier in the season when he was called up.
    For all he has done for the Dodgers so far, has Trea Turner hit a HR or multiple HR’s…Nope.
    We all knew that Peters was quite a physical specimen with his combo of power and speed, but he was awful and I suspect he’d still be awful right now if he was playing for the Dodgers at the big league level.
    There is some systemic issue with the Dodgers offense, this season and virtually all of the “fill in” players have been a bust–one performs like the other. Of course, playing for the Defending Champs and sharing in the “burden”, of carrying that weight, that pressure and in a Major Media Market like L.A. can often contribute to early failure by young players.
    Playing in Texas, for a terrible team with no expectations-is a perfect situation for Peters to shine.
    The Dodgers may regret giving him up–but not because of what he’d be doing for them right now.

    • Even with the HRs Peters is hitting 190 for the Rangers. I like the guy’s athleticism but his bat-to-ball skill leaves much to be desired. I wish him the best and pull for him to improve but believe him a poor man’s Joey Gallo who I never saw as a championship caliper player.

    • I mentioned that playing in Texas without that pressure is why Peters, who’s getting consistent playing time there, and results would be different. Several players over the years have departed from. the Dodgers and gone on to play well elsewhere.

  12. If George Steinbrenner was the owner both Friedman and Roberts would have been fired. Our dodgers owners simply don’t care and don’t know baseball you expect more than just division titles when you have the best team in mlb for last 9 years. Giants with less than half the talent are ahead of us injuries are not an excuse cause even with injuries you still have best team.

  13. Beatty doesn’t play everyday for two reasons. First, he is an excellent left handed pinch hitter and every team needs one.Secondly they Dodgers may call him “The Hitman” but they don’t call him the catch man. His is a liability as a defender and the Dodgers are run by Sabermetrics.As a side note, every time Roberts makes a seemingly silly managerial mistake you can bet the farm it was dictated by some graph,chart or mystical numbers formula.

  14. While I can appreciate using Beaty off the bench as a PH, let’s just look at some quick stats:
    Beaty .260 avg/ .784 ops (this year); .966 fielding % as OF (career)
    McKinney .167 avg/ .536 ops (this year); .979 % total as OF (career)
    Pollock .304avg/ .873 ops (this year); .993% fielding total (career)

    This FO (while great at amazing deals and finding value in other teams’ throwaways) and Roberts are actually hindrances. Simply put, their constant tinkering rarely puts the best team on the field in any one game. Tack on Roberts playing favorites and coddling player egos, it’s a miracle that they have any rings to show for all these years of so called “dominance.” The consecutive division titles are less about how great the Dodgers have been and more about how subpar the NL west has been over that time.

  15. I too appreciate a good bat of of the bench, but would rather put the best 9 on the field and McKinney does not fall into that category. I would much rather have a line up that has the ability to get the job done now and not have to depend on a cold bat coming off of the bench and try to hit 98 to 100. When Beaty sees consistent playing time he produces. Maybe the solution is an outfield of Taylor, Pollock and Beaty and sit Cody at least until Cody gets his mind straight and develops a better/sound plate approach. Regardless of what any of us say or think, we still have a manager that has concrete for brain cells and will continue to make bad decisions.

    • Sorry, my bad. The 3 outfielders I have suggested are those currently healthy. Of course when some guy named Betts returns, he plays and somebody is likely sent down and I doubt it will be Beaty.

    • agreed. Roberts drives me crazy with way too much sitting out hot hitters. seems he thinks hitters get tired running the bases with all those hits. better sit him. and I agree with all here that McKinney should not be starting, and I would replace him with McKinstry (similar name ironically).

  16. Pollack did not have a good series against the Mets, either did C.Taylor. They both needed to be rested. Beatty needs more playing time. Not McKinney. Beatty is a proven hitter. Users the whole field. Agree that Bellinger looks lost and is affecting his fielding. Too many mental mistakes yesterday. Can’t keep happening!

    • CT3 has not hit consistently since Roberts demoted him from the lead off spot where he tore it up!
      The new guy on the block has not hit any better but just seems faster on the paths and has that pretty slide. There is a reason why he was traded. Big ego maybe? If you can read the expression on Muncy’s face after Max caught that infield fly a couple games ago when T.Turner claimed that it was ‘his’ ball. This was right after the foul ball mess up the game before. Why was such a hot player basically given away? Anybody?

  17. The only thing consistent about McKinney is his kissing his hand and tapping his should before every pitch. He can’t hit period. He is an average fielder and nothing more. Period. He stands at the plate hoping for a walk. What Roberts sees in him obviously everyone else seems to be missing. If he is the replacement for Betts, one of baseball’s best, this is a discredit to the rest of the lineup. Sorry Billy but you are not fooling anybody as you did not fool the last team that you played for this past weekend, or the handful of teams that let you go. How can one not get a hit in 5 games unless your last name is Bellringer? And speaking of Bellringer…..if anyone wants to check him out in slow motion, his eyes are definitely closed when he swings the bat. He has yet to even twerk his stance and definitely does not seem to have his marbles in the right place. He SHOULD go down to the ‘Alternate site’ and get his …. together otherwise he is a cog in the wheel of the Dodger’s success these final weeks. He cannot adjust his swing and he swings for the fence w/ every at bat. Robert’s does not play aggressively where he can at least use these useless non-hitters to bunt and at least move runners forward. As it stands, there are a couple pitchers on the team who can hit better than either of the 2 gonzos, Bellringer or McDufus.

  18. Roberts always has an “explanation” for his dubious moves. But it always sounds like this…”blah blah blah blah …and I like what I see.”

  19. Robert’s must have something good on the front office ! Wonder what it could be ? ( Not being serious ) , just so tired of his decision making , no sense whatsoever at most times .

  20. That excuse of keeping Beaty on the bench so he can be a hot pinch hitter is ridiculous. just bat him 9th and have the pitchers hit 8th. Joe Maddon won a World Series doing that quite often. If these pitchers hit 8th, they can bunt and move runners for Beaty of Pujols or whoever….There’s more than one way to be in the National league, but I almost forgot, “The Dodgers Can’t bunt”, not that they won’t, they can’t. It’s pathetic to watch……..

  21. McKinney has been with the team for a month and has 9 hits in 55 ab’s! And at least a couple of those were bloopers or infield hits. There was a reason the Mets dfa’d him just like the Rays did Tsutsugo. Chalk it up as a shot that didn’t work out and release McKinney or send him down to OKC. This guy has no business being on our roster. The sample size is plenty for everyone to figure this out but DR.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading…

0