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Dodgers: When Will Dave Roberts Learn to Stop Over-Managing?



After only managing to push one run across in Thursday’s loss to the Phillies, the Dodgers were able to manufacture 4 through the first 6 against the Mets. That should have been enough for a bullpen that has been lights out over the past couple of games, yet that lead all but evaporated in the bottom of the 7th.

Brusdar Graterol came in to start the inning and punched out the first two batters he faced, thanks to some new changes. However, he then surrendered a two-out double to Michael Conforto. Even though he had only thrown 9 pitches in the inning and struck out two, Dave Roberts had seen enough. He called on rookie southpaw Justin Bruihl to finish up, but that’s where things went south. Bruihl surrendered three runs before being pulled in favor of Blake Treinen. Treinen was able to get out of the inning, but not before a passed ball allowed the Mets to tie the game at 4 apiece. 

The 7th inning was just the latest case of Dave Roberts trying to over-manage in situations that don’t call for it.

Why did he have to pull Graterol?

Why not let him try to get out of the inning with a 4-run lead? Well of course Doc liked the match up with Bruihl and mentioned that Graterol had pitched for 3 of the last 4 days.

“Looking at the next three of four hitters, they were left handed. This was three of four for Brusdar. We haven’t done that very often to him so for him to pitch today, it was a conversation. For him to face the two hitters, the double from Conforto – Justin [Bruihl] has been very good for us, so to give him two cracks to get through that inning to get the ball to the 8th and not push Brusdar I felt was the best chance to get through that inning.”

He also mentioned that he would make the same decision again if he had to. Granted, both hits allowed by Bruihl were weak fly balls, it still doesn’t excuse Doc from relying too much on the matchup game. He favored seeing a southpaw against left-handed hitter Dominic Smith. Yet, Smith has hit .343 against lefties this season compared to .222 against righties. Despite Graterol being used 3 times in the last 4 days, why not ride the hot hand?

Going with who’s hot rather than analytics has proven to work in many cases. Just look back to last year’s World Series where Roberts stuck with Julio Urías to finish the game. He didn’t rely on analytics or matchups, rather he went with the guy who had it all working for him. Plenty of other managers have done the same across the league. Yes, this isn’t the postseason, which was the case with Julio, but the Dodgers need to treat every game moving forward as if their lives depend on it. They can’t afford many more slip ups if they hope to defend their crown. 

Final Thoughts

This time they were able to come out with a win and finally win in extras. However, Roberts needs to throw out the rule book and throw out analytics. Let’s get back to good ol’ baseball and riding the players who are hot at that given time. Go with the gut feeling instead of what looks good on paper because that hasn’t seemed to work when it counts.

NEXT: Will Mookie Betts Be Back This Season and How Trea Turner Trade Helps Him

Written by Adam Salcido

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  1. Once again, he snatches victory away from his starter and almost the team with his ridiculous pitching moves. Using Roberts line of thinking, a right handed starting pitcher should not be allowed to pitch to right handed batters and vice versa. Just because Roberts thinks he can explain it does not make it right. We are right back to the 2017 WS where Roberts strange pitching moves were just as responsible for the Dodgers losing as the cheating Astros.
    Roberts is a genuinely nice man who is great at building team chemistry and getting players to buy into his system, unfortunately he is a poor manager at strategy and creating a game plan.
    Friedman needs to hire a strong pitching coach and give him complete control over the pitching staff and pitching changes after the 5th inning. You know sort of like Roberts platoon system except its a platoon system for the what would be 2 mangers. Yank Roberts in the 5th inning and let the Pitching coach make all the decisions. Roberts has lost more games for us then he has won. Dont get excited, Im talking about close games.This team has mega talent but Roberts mismanages way too often.
    Case in point:
    1. last nights pitching change or any previous unexplainable change
    2. Sitting the hottest hitter on the team because he needs a “DAY OFF”
    3. Bringing in any bum from the bullpen because “I think he is throwing great”
    4. Refusing to Bunt , hit and run or steal a base when it would move the runner into scoring position.
    5. His totally off base platoon system where he thinks utility style players are more valuable than a player who knows how to play his position to a high major league level.

    • Taking Graterol out was silly (nicest word I could think of). If you warm him up and let him throw 9 pitches, 3-6 more aren’t going to matter. Roberts defending it and saying he would do it again is even sillier. He should man up and say, “It was the wrong move tonight” because clearly it was.

      • In hindsight it was the wrong move. I understand his thinking there; the lefty just didn’t deliver

        • His thinking ?? He doesn’t think when making moves like that. We’ve all had enough for years with best roster in baseball. Time to move on. NOW!

    • Dave costs the Dodgers wins every year, including last year. He seems to think the players today can’t play every game. Taking out players who are hot for some rest is insane. We are 4 games behind and if he let those players play, we wouldn’t be behind the Giants. He seems to move players around, not because it’s necessary, but because he can. This is getting really old.

      In case someone thinks I’m saying this because we are behind the giants, I’ve said this every year.

    • The other team’s reliever comes in and is lights out. You hope that their manager is stupid and removes him quickly, as it’s your best chance that his replacement won’t be as good. This is what
      other teams feel when Roberts replaces a great reliever with someone else, who you know is less likely to be as good. They applaud when Roberts removes a pitcher who has great stuff after one inning.

  2. Mr. Roboto (what I call him) is the worst manager in baseball. He has by far the most talent on his roster of any manager in the game. And yet, he seems to find a way to lose more often than the Dodgers should.

    You hit the nail on the head, Adam, by saying that Roboto over-manages!!!! He constantly makes changes to obtain the righty-lefty advantage at the plate (even when he is substituting for a hitter who gives him less of an advantage). I’m not a Dodgers’ fan, per se. But I am a baseball fan (60+ years) who consistently has Dodgers on his fantasy team year-after-year (because they have some of the best MLB players). Nevertheless, I always remain frustrated with Mr. Roboto’s moves, because like I’m implying, he’s robotic (and very predictable) in his in-game decisions which inevitably do not work out.

    When the Dodgers’ brass decide to replace Roboto (hopefully soon), I believe that “Dem Bums” will go on a run and win for years!

  3. Wait, you mean it’s not normal to take out a pitcher who has a 2 hit shutout after 5 innings, with a 4-0 lead. (Only 82 pitches) WOW! Or how ’bout taking someone out who strikes out the first 2 of an inning, then gives up a hit….I’ve yet to see the 5 run homer, let alone with only one guy on base. DUH. My name is DOPEY DAVE! Earlier in the year he sat Justin Turner after an off day, and said he needed a day off. DUH, my name is DOPEY DAVE. Or, I’m gonna sit our hottest hitter, then PH him in the 8th, up 3, so I can end the longest, current hit streak in MLB, and the longest current on base streak in MLB…CLASSLESS! Treinen always looks like he wants to kill em when he takes him out. Cat Man had a 1 hit shutout threw 5 about 3 weeks ago, gave up a bloop single to start the 6th, he ran out of the dugout to go get him. And you could read his lips, he said to Turner “WTF is he doing?” Turner replied “I have no effin clue.” I’ve managed the game for 30yrs, I can tell you the word around MLB is and I quote “Make Roberts make decisions, he’ll blow it” Bottom line with pitching moves….Days rest is the most important thing, not “he only threw 10 pitches, I can use him 4 straight days.” Look at all the guys arms he has killed on this roster alone. Just because someone throws 10 pitches in a game, they have to get loose, and throw 60 in the bullpen. DUH- My name is DOPEY DAVE!

  4. THANK YOU..!!! I’ve said this for years. There is a statistic out there for how many games managers win for their teams but Dave Roberts is on his way to creating a category of How many games a manager loses… “The Roberts Rule”. He needs to go.!!!

    • Awesome!!!! I’m really glad to find other fans who think the same as me!!!!!
      Roberts is a waste as a manager!!! He must be a nice man but he SUCKS as managing!!!! I hope the owners realize that this cannot continue!!!!

      • Seems nobody talks about the fact Roberts keeps throwing these rookies/triple a pitchers into high pressure, tough teams, game on the line situations. The lefty last night was up with the big CV lib for one week. Does the same with clevenger and others, make a change but but bring a shut down,

      • you think there is no one thinking like you? Everyone on the bandwagon hates doc, until the Dodgers win the WS again

      • Yes. And let’s go back to other effective thinga, too. Hitting AGAINST the shIft, swinging for non- homeruns which leads to extended rallies, stealing bases, dropping bunts. Get the hell out of the weight room and develop some agility instead, leading to less trips to the IL. The Dodgers without preventable injuries are double digit games up in the division. Bsck to making this game fun to watch and leapyears more entertaining to watch.

        • I’ve been saying that all season long. The reason they’re 1-12, sorry 2-12 in extra inning games is because that requires them to play “small ball” since the inning starts with a runner on second base. A bunt or even a ball hit to the right side of the infield gets the runner to third with one out and opens up a plethora of different ways to get him home. Nope—we swing for the fences and that guy dies at second base. It’s not only getting old, but it’s losing games for them. Couple that with an erratic bullpen and you’re a 2-12. I think Roberts is a nice guy and the team likes playing for him, but I think he’s risen to his level of incompetency.

          • I 100% agree. For me the BROmance with Kenley kills us more times then saves us. Kenley is a nice guy but he has issues closing.

  5. “Over-managing” is an appropriate definition for the managing style of Dave Roberts. This style has been evident for years. Yes, he has a winning record, but with the roster he has managed, a little league manager could have the same or better results.

    In 2020 the Dodgers finally won the world championship once again; “in spite of”, not “thanks to”, Dave Roberts.

    Yes, he is very charismatic and good with the interviews, but his clumsy decisions frustrate the most die-hard Dodger fans. A personal dream would be to send him to the Yankees.
    I recognize that everyone has their own perspective of the actions and would write about a game with a completely different angle. In this most recent game, my headline would be……
    “ ROBERTS AND THE BULLPEN RUIN THE CHANCE FOR URIAS TO WIN GAME NUMBER 14, FORTUNATLY, SMITH SAVES THE NIGHT WITH A 2 RUN HR”

  6. Great read! I’m seriously exhausted watching Dodgers lose over mismanagement of the bullpen. It’s the same story and ends the same way. This approach isn’t going to land us anywhere in September.

  7. The man is a total waste of time, we could have beaten the astros in the WS and the Nationals in the playoffs were it not for his lack of making the proper moves. Taking Graterol out last night and losing Beaty as a pinch hitter because he didn’t have Urias in the on deck circle are just some of last night’s issues. He does this every game in some manner. We need to see if we can bring Mike Scioscia out of retirement and get rid of this manager with no feeling for the flow of the game. Where was Cesia who had been pitching so well?

  8. Roberts will never stop using analytics. That’s how he got the job. He’s Andrew Friedman yes man. The day he stops he will be fired. That’s why I personally call him the puppet. Roberts has no gut feeling for the game.

  9. Adam is totally correct on this page about everything Iwe all have seen and said about Roberts as an inept a manager as there is in the game. Graterol could have finished thainning without Roberts and his match up rules and stupid analytics. He has cost this team many games and don’t get us all here started about how he poorly handles the lineups and the pitching staff. IDK but I would guess a few more players are not going to want to play on this team with Roberts as manager. Enough is enough.

    • I think your right Paul, the players can all see what the rest of us see. You need to respect and somewhat “fear ” your leader. I doubt very many of our players feel this way.

  10. Roberts does his best managing when he doesn’t manage at all. And his arrogant post game comments saying stuff like: I’d make the same call the next game. We Dodger fans, for years now, have been calling for his dismissal. It’s only because of injuries there’s been any consistant line ups day in and day out.

    • That’s what bothers me and most others here when Roberts blatantly says he would make these same decisions and moves the next time no matter what. Again, after this year, especially if Dodgers don’t survive the WC game, he MUST GO.

  11. Robert’s micro analytic managing reminds me of a Giant’s manager in the early 1960’s, Alvin Dark. Dark, was infamous for his right/lefty obsession, to the point that even the Giant’s own announcers would offer some pithy tongue in cheek observations about his obsession with managing matchups.

  12. I couldn’t agree more re: Roberts is over managing, to the point of why even bother with a manager, just use an analytical based simulation of the actual game, pitch by pitch, and have a robot call out the pitches, player positioning, line up, etc.

  13. I got off the Dave Train in his second year of managing the Dodgers. Why is that guy Bruihi in the major leagues. He’s wild, he can’t break an egg with his so-called fast ball, and seems disinterested a lot of the time. I don’t see how he can be successful in triple A, much less the majors. He is downright terrible.

    Roberts should have left Knebel in for another inning, and Graterol for sure. I have a question. Am I the only one who thinks Roberts is on some kind of drugs/medication? He looks like he is in another world most of the time. I want to go through the tv an shake him for about five seconds and wake him up.

  14. I’m so glad that I’m not the only person that thinks Roberts over manages. Yesterday is a great example pulling Urias after just 82 pitches, pulling Graterol after 9 pitches with 2 outs just because a guy got a hit, let him finish the inning or at least one more batter. He over works his bullpen and I’m wondering if that’s not causing all the arm injuries to his pitchers. I wish he was more like Maddon and just let the players play!!!

  15. Absolutely spot on. Roberts is the blame for most all those 1 run loses with his stupid of the cuff pitching changes when the pitcher/reliever has gotten 2 outs and then gets yanked for a cold reliever and most times an unproven player who flew in on a plane just b4 the game. Leave the game to the players for crying out loud.

  16. My pet peeve with Roberts is, he brings in a pitcher and the pitcher strikes out the side, the pitcher does it in most cases with ease, then guess what that pitcher gets to set back down and another one comes in and in most cases he is not effective as the one who struck out the side. Common sense and logic says stick with the one who is doing the job.

    • Nothing, aside from bringing Kenley to the mound in the 9th inning of a tight game, irritates me more than Roberts prematurely replacing an effective reliever. These hasty decisions negatively impact our team more often than not. Despite our current place in the standings, we remain arguably one of the best teams in baseball; but, Roberts has got to stop overmanaging and let these guys play.

  17. I’ve been saying this about Roberts for I don’t know how long. He’s the reason we’re missing a couple of rings. If he would of used analytics last year we probably wouldn’t have a Ring. I’ll go with whomever has the hot hand instead of playing with analytics. Let’s hope doesn’t manage like that in the playoffs, bcuz if he does we won’t repeat as WS champions

    • Yes, they are. Probably from seeing the game from a unique position on the field. And, handling lots of pitchers, where Roberts really struggles. Scioscia must return to the Dodgers!

  18. DR is DR. Graterol is really improving and needs to keep moving forward. He is fooling more hitters with offspeed stuff. When it all comes together he will be a force.

  19. Mr. Salcido, these are very pointed remarks about DR. You have questioned the abilities of the the Dodger manager. And I would just like to say thank you.

  20. Well the Dodgers most likely will be the # 1 WC team and if they don’t get past the WC game Roberts should do us all sa favor and do the right thing and that is to resign as manager. I believe most here would agree.

  21. 100 per cent agreed!! I was scratching my head in wonderment with Robert’s preemie move!! Thankful it didn’t result in another loss!

  22. You nailed it, Adam, but Roberts will rarely go this way. He’s probably cost us a handful of games. His apologists will counter, “But he’s one more than a handful blah blah.” Dave’s a baseball guy. It’s time he started showing it. The true art of managing this game is recognizing when it’s time to toss aside the analytics and just get out of the way.

  23. THANK YOU for finally writing an article on the most pressing problem that faces the LA Dodgers. That being, “Managerial Malpractice”, per a local sports writer.

    Many people above hit the nail on the head, and ‘hats off’ to many of you.

    One other issue I have not seen addressed is Roberts’ love for players claimed off waivers, inserted into the starting lineup right away, and keeping them in the lineup regardless of their success. He did it with the Asian guy in LF earlier in the season, and now we are stuck with ‘Babe” McKinney almost each and every day.

    Roberts needs to go, he will continue to cost us games. They need a WAR stat for managers.

  24. I am not the only one. I have read every commentary and now see a pattern with who’s in charge may not be Roberts. He is a yes man for sure and is willing to take the knocks. Using some players like Graderol who needs to be in the minors. He get pounded just about every time as he has only a fastball and wild pitches. There are others

  25. Exactly right. Robert’s kryptonite had always been his frequently bad judgement when it comes to changing pitchers. Who can forget his overuse of Ryan Madson in the Series against the Red Sox? I thought he should have been fired for that crap, overall reg season records notwithstanding.

  26. Thanks for bringing this up , it’s been time after time Dave has screwed up our win because he wouldn’t leave a pitcher in when he’s hot , instead he thinks he’s pinky and the brain with some crazy plan of his that just don’t work , I’m a die hard fan for many years and like Dave but as you said it perfectly Dave please stop over managing, GO Dodyersssss!!

  27. could not agree more. managers should trust their eyes and gut over any LH/RH matchups, and they should dig deeper into stats per player, as many hitters have reverse splits. besides, we all would rather have a pitcher who is pitching well at the moment than risk a replacement that hasn’t been in the game yet (you never know what you will get).

  28. Soy fan de LA DODGERS desde mi infancia, gracias a FERNANDO “EL TORO” VALENZUELA.
    Con respecto a Jensen, ¿Hay que felicitarlo cuando cumple con su trabajo? A todos nos gusta que nos reconozcan el cumplimiento de una labor bien echa. Pero para un equipo como DODGERS con aspiraciones a repetir un campeonato, no se puede dar el lujo de tener a un cerrador que aún con 2 o más carreras de ventaja salga y pierda esos partidos. Es un cerrador que en cada salida permite que se le embase de 1 a 2 jugadores. A desperdiciado ventajas de 2 o más carreras. Un cerrador de élite. Llega al cierre del juego y apaga las luces 9 de cada 10 juegos cuando se tiene una ventaja como la que menciono. Y con JENSEN hay que ponerse a resar para no perder los juegos que ya se tienen prácticamente ganados. Urge un cambio de cerrador, uno de esos de verdad, un apaga fuegos, no un enciende llamas. Perdón por lo duro, pero quiero que DODGERS repita como campeón ¿ustedes no?

  29. What is with this lineup tonight? Pollock on the bench and McKinney starting? Does Pollock really need a rest? and Barnes over Smith, what is this, an equal opportunity employer. We should put the best out there every night, unless there is an injury. We should bench Bellinger and Mckiney and keep Beatty and Pollock and Smith in.

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