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Dodgers: Why Dave Roberts Did Not Walk Austin Riley in the 9th



The Dodgers lost a tough one in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Braves on Saturday. On a night where they went with a bullpen game instead of a starter, Los Angles kept pace with Atlanta all night and almost pulled one out. 

But a few questionable decisions in the 9th inning led to the Braves walking it off. One came on the part of Chris Taylor when he tried to take third base with 2 outs. The other came from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. 

With a base open and 1 out, Doc let Blake Treinen pitch to Austin Riley rather than giving him the intentional walk. Riley made them pay for that. But as Doc explained after the game, the matchups just didn’t play in their favor. 

It was a thought. The way that Blake has dominated right-handed hitters, you’ve got Joc on deck. If he was going to get him out, I was thinking of walking Joc to get Duval. But I think in that spot right there, I didn’t like the matchup with Joc. 

Joc had already struck out twice in the game. The Dodgers clearly had an approach to their former outfielder, and it was working. Pederson is 2-for-4 in his career against Treinen, but Blake is also exceptionally dominant against left-handed hitters. 

Dodgers Related: Why Doc Went With Kenley in the 9th 

It’s a tough call, but pitching to Riley was obviously not the right call. Hindsight is 20/20, but Riley has been one of the hottest hitters in the National League. But what’s done is done, and the Dodgers have the chance to even things up on Sunday. 

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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.

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  1. Why do the announcers keep saying that Dave Roberts had a historic stolen base in the 2004 World Series, when he did not!
    They must be thinking of a playoff game, BOS vs NYY?

  2. Austin Riley is NOT the same hitter we saw one year ago in Arlington, TX. He is now a lethal hitter and the most dangerous hitter in the Braves line-up.

    Hopefully Dave learned a painful lesson this weekend.

    • Kelly had no problem fanning Riley. Vesia did so in game 1 as well. Only those two should be allowed to pitch to him, anyone else in the game…free pass and take your base!

      I know Dodgers are down 0-2, but I still firmly believe they win the series. They were down 1-3 last year and won too. They just like to tease us. 1981 Dodgers were down 0-2 to the Yankees and won 4 straight. Dodgers will get this done.

      • I completely agree with your strategy about dealing with Riley. It did not make sense to pitch to him after his success the night before. Also, we’d better keep an eye on Freeman. His mini slump will only last so long and I do not want to think about what he’s gonna do when it comes to an end.

        Our Dodgers apparently like to play under pressure and the Braves are thirsty for this opportunity. Still, our current deficit feels very familiar and I, too, will continue to believe that they will turn it around…soon.

    • Don’t think so. Roberts is being out managed. Does anyone agree that Trienen should have come back out in the 8th instead of Julio? He had a soft, low pitch count 7th. With all said, it was NOT the Taylor base running gaffe that lost us game one, IT WAS IN INABILITY OF THIS TEAM TO BE PRODUCTIVE WITH RUNNERS ON BASE, BEIGING IT IN SCORING POSITION OR NOT.
      Same lack of productive hitting with runners on in game 2. Again the reason we lost the game. Cliff Floyd made a comment last night on the MLB channel, that it doesn’t matter what the pitchers do, it is very hard to believe in the Dodgers right now because of their untimely hitting and it is a BIG PROBLEM.

      • Harry, I beg to differ. The offense provided enough runs in game 2 to win. Could they, should they have scored more? Absolutely! The first two games of this series has seen absolutely atrocious in game execution by several players. Not a single one can be tagged a goat in isolation IMHO. Was not pitching Treinen in the 8th the right move? Perhaps, but that is only an outcome known in hindsight unfortunately. Had Urias repeated his proven success in similar appearances, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Had Pollock’s throw to second base been online off Freeman’s fly-out, Rosario is out. Dodgers win 4-2, end of game, series tied 1-1. It didn’t happen. Turn the page and win game 3!

        Let’s go Dodgers!

        • Bottom line is they did not win. 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and 2 for 18 through the first two games is not near good enough. Heck one run is good enough if your pitchers throw lights out. If they had provided some situational hitting we would be up 2-0 not down 0-2. I do agree with the Trienen situation being 20/20 hindsight. On Pollock’s throw, if our bats were not so silent that throw is a non issue. Now we are faced with the task of trying to hit a big game arm. If our bats don’t wake up we are in very serious trouble. One final thought, I completely with concur that we must take a positive attitude that we ARE going to win tomorrow with our horse on the mound.

          As always – Go Dodgers

          • Harry, you are 100% correct this time. Yes if they hit better with RISP, Play-off loser Pollock’s throw is a non-issue. It just frustrates the bejesus out of me when I see Kike and Joc re-writing the postseason record books!! Oh well. Move on and win game 3!

    • So many questions for DRRRRRRRRRRRRR’s and so little answers….This team is exhausted, a horrible bench, poor utilization of the talent that it has, and burning up the pitching compensating for the lack of hitting. Drrrrrrrrrr get’s a F so far in the NLCS. Maybe JT will eat his wheatie, and Trea turner will learn to bunt with a man on third and the 3rd basemen playing on the outfield grass. Pollock might need to adjust his eyesight as pitches in the dirt probably aren’t strikes…

      • Kirk, we agree on some but not all. We agree Pollock wouldn’t be able to hit if he went up there with a tennis racquet! As far as DR is concerned, he doesn’t pick the bench players. That along with the pitching moves are a group decision! If the Dodgers fail here, the FO is going to have to wear it!

  3. Scherzer says he’s experiencing a Dead arm and hopefully it will be very temporary.
    Julio is the Game 4 starter and he may have a fatigue issue, having pitched a tough 8th inning tonight.
    The Dodgers have expended a ton of “resources” in beating the Giants and in trying to fend off the Braves the past 2 games.
    Down 2-0 and facing Morton in Game 3 with the Braves coming off back to back walk off wins will be the toughest test and biggest challenge they could possibly face.

    • Tommy, I completely agree. Charlie Morton is a very good Play-off proven performer. He sports an excellent curveball much like Adam Wainwright of the Cards in the WC game. The challenge of beating the Braves has now become monumentally more difficult given the unfortunate outcomes of games 1&2. All this being said, I still like the Dodgers’ chances. I will continue to hold out hope the Dodgers prevail in this series.

      Let’s go Dodgers!

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