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Dodgers: Why Dave Roberts Inexplicably Went to Julio Urías Late in the Game

He has been very good for LA, but why in relief?



The Dodgers lost another tough one in Atlanta on Sunday night and now find themselves at a 2-game deficit. On a night where they had Max Scherzer on the mound for them, Los Angeles lost yet another game on a walk-off in the 9th. 

And once again, there were a few questionable moves that further complicated the loss. The big one was Dave Roberts bringing Julio Urias into the game in the 8th inning out of the Dodgers bullpen. That one was a surprise to everyone and obviously didn’t go over too well. 

After the game, Doc was asked why he went with Julio rather than a bullpen arm. The Dodges still had Justin Bruihl and a number of other arms that Roberts could have gone to with Julio on the mound in Game 4 this week. 

We talked about it before the series and he was available last night if it came to the situation, but it didn’t. He hasn’t thrown a bullpen and he was the best option at that point in time. He was prepared for it, it was the perfect spot for him, and getting him through that 8th to go to Kenley to finish the game. 

That plan did not go as Roberts had hoped. Instead, Julio gave up a pair of runs and the Braves tied up the game late. That set the stage for them to walk off on the Dodgers for the second-consecutive night. 

Dodgers Related: 4 Big Concerns for Los Angeles in the NLCS

The argument could be made that the Dodgers bullpen got a heavy workload on Saturday so they did not want to give them too much. But even then, the off-day on Monday should have meant that it was all hands on deck once again. 

Clearly, that was not the case. 

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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. Graterol has been flat out dealing…along with the best bullpen in baseball. Knebel, Kelly, Graterol, Treinan and Jansen. Five innings worth of lights out baseball regardless of matchups. Offense still not clicking, all this and yet we’ve handed them two wins. Imagine what this series would look like if we were dialed in….

  2. Does it really matter when you have an offense that gets 4 hits against a so so Brave bullpen. As long as they continue to play Pollock, who has been nothing but garbage in his 3 post seasons for them (.178 average) and expect Trea Turner to make a difference (he has one world series ring and that was due to Rendon, Soto, Scherzer and Strasburg) and have to hit Pujols and Sousa in crucial situations, they will be gone in 5 games. Their defense last night , especially the lousy throws from Pollock (real surprise) and Sousa hurt them as did the last play of the game. The names I mention here are the ones replacing Hernandez and Pederson, that is why we are where we are. If Pollock continues to be in the lineup and Trea Turner doesn’t move down, they will be hard to watch as the pitchers have had so much pressure on them they were due for a bummer, they can’t be blamed.

    • NO! We are where we are because of a clueless inexperienced “manager”. He is nothing more than a buffoon. Any other manager would have taken this team to 120 wins. Roberts the Clown is always in our way.

      • Koofoo, you share my sentiments to a T! Playoff losers Pollock and Trea are what are bringing this team down, while Joc and Kike are re-writing the postseason recordbooks. Nice going Dodger FO! These loses are on you!

        • I believe Joc was probably the odd man out anyway, but Kike could and should be still with the Dodgers. The Red Sox are not paying him a ton of money, but they offered something the Dodgers would not. PLAYING TIME AND AROUND 500 AT BATS! With the way this year unfolded regarding injuries to Mookie and Pollock and Cody”s struggles, we easily could have given him the plate appearances. I realize this is only in hindsight, but every time I see Souza or a McKinney (not in the NLCS) one has to wonder what could have been if we had kept him. He shows up when the bright lights turn on. Oh, he can also play first base and with the current situation with Muncy, he would have proved to be invaluable.

          • Harry, couldn’t have said it any better. Kike was a Rolex disguised as a Timex, and the Dodgers flushed it down the Toilet! Extremely poor execution by the FO. You simply don’t let a player with a PROVEN POSTSEASON RECORD leave! And at the same time continue to stick with a player with great regular season stats but a PROVEN POSTSEASON HISTORY OF FAILURE! Sorry AJ, but facts are facts.

          • Joc (tober) and Kike rake postseason and their current success should not come as a surprise to any of us. Right now, both are playing for teams that are really thirsty and making the most of their postseason opportunity. Although I always write on here that, ” it ‘aint over until its over” and I mean it, I cannot help but to feel that our Dodgers burned out playing the Giants. Although it was absolute poetic justice when the Dodgers’ knocked the Giants out of the playoffs, that was not supposed to be the end all to end all. Something really feels anticlimactic right now; so, maybe this day off will give the Dodgers the reset they look as if they need.

  3. All right Dodgers. You have the Braves right where you want them. Now quit screwing around and win 4 straight!

  4. Roberts manages his players like a drunken sailot manages money. But he always has reasons for his bizarre decisions. When the Dodgers win, it’s in spite of him, not because of him. Myriad examples available upon request.

  5. Brook, unfortunately your criticisms are only apparent in hindsight! Ahead of time the success or failure is unknown. So many in game execution miscues combined to result in two missed opportunities. This series is far from over. Ya do I wish the series was tied 1-1? Of course. It’s not. Regroup and win game 3! One game, one AB, one pitch at a time! Exercise meticulous execution as we know they can and Dodgers will prevail.

    • Yesterday before the Game 2 some idiot commented on this website that Joc Pederson is an “easy out”. So Joc hit a 2 run home run that tied the game, off of none other than you Dodger ace Mad Max Scherzer. But guess what? That idiot was YOU!!! LOL!!! “Mr. Know It All” now becomes “Mr. Know Nothing At All”!!!

      • Joe Kelly had absolutely no problem retiring Joc! Scherzer was gassed! Scherzer has also let Joc tag him previously in the postseason. You are the one who “knows nothing!”

      • Scherzer was gassed and hung a curveball my 3 year old grandson could have planted in the seats!

        Joe Kelly had no problem retiring Joc!

  6. Scherzer should have NEVER been a choice this soon. He even admitted that his arm was feeling dead when warming up. Now when will he be available at 100% again. Urias should not have been used this soon either and now will he be at HIS best when we need him in the super critical game coming up. Combine this with our lousy clutch hitting and I am now worried…stay-tuned.

    • Doug, very valid criticisms. The thing you’re leaving out though is the thing that has escaped nearly everyone here…THE DEFENSE!

  7. For the whole season, I have never understood their pitching decisions. Urias, your 20 game winner, is used in the bull pen when your bull pen has done really well. This makes no sense at all. And he is suppose to start game 4??? Some believe it is all Roberts. Too many reports say too much influence comes from above. Well, they did when 106 games for the season, but their season may soon be over. Atlanta went 36-18 from Aug 1. They got hot and it continues.

  8. Urias was a complete surprise. Treinen threw NINE pitches in the seventh. Should have at least started the eighth with him.

    • I agree. Treinen should have started the 8th but that decision came from the FO needing to put their stamp on the game.

  9. Roberts is clueless.why take out pitchers after 1 inning when they are pitching lights out. He thinks like Joe Biden. Fire the idiot.

    • I believe Roberts is in more of a panic mode than many would probably believe. Trienan only threw 8 pitches in the 7th and our idiot of a manager brings in our 4th game starter who has not exactly been lights out so far in the postseason. I sure as heck hope his job is on the line and that he knows it. Maybe a God complex is a bit too strong, but he has something going on with his attitude and thinking he is the know all end all. I can’t stand they way he struts out to the mound when he going to make a pitching change. I have been saying for a long time that every Dodger pennant winning squad was because of the talent and had not one thing to do with Roberts. For those of you who persist on bringing up his winning percentage, I REPEAT THAT WITHOUT THE TALENT HE HAS HAD AT HIS FINGER TIP HE WOULD HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ANOTHER JOB WELL BEFORE NOW!

      • MAYBE. But I think all his moves are blessed or even coordinated with the FO. Not sayin he’s a puppet…but maybe?

        • The way this offense has performed this PS over all, a WS appearance doesn’t seem likely. And most are all questioning Robert’s pitching decisions that took many by surprise.

        • Next year is in a long time. We wont be winning the WS this year with our pathetic offense and only 3 starting pitchers and we just used Sherzer for not. You know, I just dont understand why Roberts burns the bullpen pitchers so quickly. In that 5th game against SF, we should have had some relief pitchers available. Maybe some of our studs could have pitched another inning. If that SF game went to 10 or more innings we had nobody left to pitch. Sorry but unless we sweep the next 3 games, there will be no LA world series in 2021.

  10. There should have been a run for the Dodgers one a squeeze with 1 out and a runner at thirs. Then , WTF happened with bases loaded and no runs? Get fukkin creative. It is the end of the season. .

  11. I’ve got some great snarky things to say, but mostly I miss Joc & Kiki. It looks like I might to get to see them both in the WS.

  12. Roberts proves once again he is the stupidest manager in all of baseball. Terrible lineup, Lux batting 5th. Come on what a disaster along with the pulling of Scherzer , the first game was a cluster F—. We will not come back from this, like we were so LUCKY to do last year. Roberts MUST GO.

    • Lux batting fifth is a joke, he barely made it out of the minor leagues at the end of the season injuries and inept hitting by the rest of the team helped him make the roster and a couple of hole finding hits put him in the game but batting fifth speaks to how bad the lineup is. Kike wanted a guaranteed starting position this year and we let him go because they slated Lux to start at second, the first of many mistakes this year. Pollock is so bad in the postseason that Lux will probably have to be in the lineup but no better than 7th or 8th.

      • Koofoo, spot on. Both Lux and Tio fooled me into thinking they were better than they are. Lux with his nice performance in game 4 and Tio in the hurricane game. Braves had a absolute no-brainer in walking Smith to pitch to Lux twice! But there have been countless miscues by several players leading to two list opportunities in Atlanta. It’s a team game. Water under the bridge. Move on, regroup and win game 3!

        Let’s go Dodgers!

  13. Bottom line,Roberts messed up with the pitching decisions and the FO is also to blame because they are initiating these decisions Dodgers had SEVERAL chances with RIDP and failed to get the hit when needed, while the Braves made the most of their chances. Roberts has to take part of the blame for losing last night’s game.

    • I will blame playoff loser Pollock before I pin the lose on DR! 2019 vs Nats 0-13 with 11 strikeouts! More of the same here! Offline throw off Freeman’s fly-out in the 8th! Online throw and Rosario is dead meat! Dodgers win 4-2!

  14. Roberts is the worst manager in all of baseball. Despite tying the franchise record, his stupid decision making costs us games. This idiot needs to be fired once the season is over. We need a manager who is not delusional.

    • Scotty, look you can speculate all you want about whether Treinen should have pitched the 8th (I can make the case either way). What you can’t deny is that Julio was lights out in the same role as the 8th in 2020! Nobody can predict ahead of time what the outcome will be, that’s a given. Only the benefit of hindsight do we know the result. So I will not pin this loss on DR. I hate to try and isolate any one decision or player as it is a team game. It is a team and organizational loss. So what. Move on and win game 3! One at a time. Can be done. They’ve done it several times previously. Execute and prevail!

      Let’s go Dodgers!

    • Not Roberts, Friedman is the one with the God complex! He has to show everyone how smart he is. There is a great story in the Athletic about the decision making process that went into the game 5 decision to start Knebel vs the Giants and to bring in Max to close. This “fancy move” completely undermined the pitching in games 1&2 of the NLCS.

      But a combination of lack of situational hitting and defensive miscues cost the Dodgers both games. Oh well. Regroup and win game 3. I guarantee you Braves will be saying to themselves “oh no here we go again.”

    • You are correct Scotty, Roberts desperately wants attention. How many times have you said “What the **** is he doing now???

  15. As questionable as it was to have Urias pitch the 8th out of the pen, why would Roberts have the mentality of: “Ok Julio, it’s now your game to win or lose”?
    The fact that Roberts stood by while Urias gave up the 2 run lead and even kept him out there when the potential go ahead and winning run was at 2nd, with just 1 out, makes no sense, even though Urias got the final 2 outs.
    That’s the destructive decision making we’ve seen from Roberts in the past–I thought that maybe, just maybe, he had put that behind him…Nope.

  16. Dodger Boy and SW, you guys are spot on. Craig Counsel has 120 wins with this team. If you ever listened to his post game press conferences, if they win the first 2 of a 3 game set, he admits he packs in game 3, and says “well we won the series, that’s what I was trying for.” FOUR All-Star closers, Starters ARE NOT NEEDED in the Bullpen. Doofy Dave can’t manage a game, or a lineup. Atlanta pitched around Smith all night to get to Lux (Batting 5th….what an effin joke!) Scherzer wasn’t even needed game 5 in SF if he knew what he was doing. That’s why we lost game 2 to Atlanta, Scherzer wasn’t sharp because he threw in Game 5 vs SF. Did the same in WS vs Astros, brought in Jansen in Game 4 up 6-1. Then needed him in Game 5, and got rocked. Guarantee, Scherzer is gone, he can verbally cover Docs a$$ all he wants, he ain’t happy coming out in the 5th!

    • Maybe you guys are right about DR, but you guys are sure going to look really stupid if he wins the WS again…just sayin.

    • That’s why Counsell is watching the rest of the postseason from his living room! While the Dodgers are still in it!

    • Scherzer is just being courteous to team. He is pissed to be yanked inexplicably after 4 or 5 innings, and won’t be coming back next year to play for this idiot.

  17. The decision to bring in Urias stinks of “committee management” and has to stop. We know that Robert’s bosses think they can call the shots better than he can and are full of “ideas” when it comes deciding the moves, but they hired him to manage. They should get the hell out of the way!

  18. Seems FO was written all over that
    move. Was wondering why if he didn’t
    start the 8th with Trienen, where was Buster?

  19. I wonder what you guys would have said about Lasorda? Let’s back track a bit shall we? Loses back-to-back Ws’s to the Yankees with arguably one of the best infields in history (Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey) in 1977-78. Then reappears 3 years later against the same Yankees and proceeds to lose games 1&2 in NY! Hmmm, shall I go on? Just sayin

    • D4, that yankees team was a Dynasty of talent. The Yanks had HOF’s all throughout that line up. The Astro’s and red Sox who DRRRRRRRR lost to are Far far from anything even being considered 1 hit wonders.

      • Kirk, HOF at every position? Really? Chambliss, W Randolf, Bucky Dent? Greg Nettles, Roy White, Micky Rivers, Reggie Jackson, Thurmon Munson. Of the above mentioned players, only Mr. October is in the HOF. Just sayin

        • True but an argument could made for both Guidry and Munson. The Dodgers’ infielders were good players but was recognized most for the number of years they played together as a unit. Only Sutton made the hall though an argument could made for Garvey.

          • Bum4ever, fair enough. Unfortunately Munson’s career was tragically cut short and that is probably what has kept him out. Guidry is borderline. But you are quite astute, kudos to you. I respect anyone with intelligent comments. The rest of you clowns can go to the beach and pound sand.

      • Kirk, if you want to make comments as such, at least have credible facts to support them.

  20. And while we are going over game two miscues, perhaps someone can enlighten me as to why Mookie was playing so shallow against Riley in the 8th in a close game? The announcers had commented on the Braves’ outfielders playing “NO DOUBLES DEPTH!”

    Hmmm???

  21. Dylan Hernandez, LA Times sports writer sums up the lost weekend in Atlanta quite well…the Dodger FO out-smarted itself. There really was no need to bring in Scherzer in game 5 vs the Giants and it put the Dodgers in a bind pitching-wise in Atlanta.

    Dodgers still have the talent edge vs the Braves. FO needs to stop trying to steal the show and let the boys play!

      • Thanks DF4L- I like you have been a Dodger fan all of my life starting with the early 50’s when I lived in Brooklyn and suffered through all of those Yankee losses except for ’55

        • Paul, sorry wrong. The 4 runs were enough in game 2. Terrible defense cost the Dodgers. Smith for one, Betts playing too shallow late in a close game. Riley’s drive should have been a loud out. Just like Wade Jr robbing CT of extras on a catch at the wall! Unforgivable! Pollock’s terrible throw into second allowed Rosario into scoring position. If Mookie was in RF instead of Souza, Rosario is out at home! Shall I go on? Seager not knocking down Rosario’s walk-off. Had ANY OF THESE GONE THE DODGERS WAY THEY WIN. Despite the LOB!

  22. Two more mistakes we forgot to mention 1) not pinch running for Turner after he was hit, the Taylor hit should have scored 3 but Turner has been babying his hamstring ever since his injury months ago and 2) what the hell is Sousa even doing on the roster, he has abslutely zero value at the plate and that two hop throw from short right field to home which should have been an easy out was pitiful

    • I have to agree, who the hell is this Souza cat and why is he on the roster? When he two hopped the throw from short right field I could not help but think about a right fielder we used to have that would make that throw from deep right on a rope.

  23. Was saying this amongst Dodger buddies before the Cardinal game. Consider how many games we won going into that wild card game only to get that wild card game! Then five with the Giants followed by a trip cross country to a well rested Braves team. All that and yet we could easily be 2 and 0. Look, we beat these guys by 18 during the season and got screwed on home field advantage. So many obstacles and yet….we are clearly the better team. Forget the negative press Dodgers, EIGHT WINS and we retain the title. LFG!!!

  24. The dumbest play that Roberts has now executed in two consecutive losses is pitching to the opposing team’s hottest hitter in the bottom of the 9th with first base open. He has created two heroes for the city of Atlanta on consecutive nights. The other criticisms about his pitching choices are mostly all valid. Roberts managing any team without the talent of the Dodgers would be a sub-500 winner.

    • DieHard, while I will agree with you about pitching to the opposing team’s hottest hitter is a recipe for disaster (right Tommy Lasorda? RIP pitching to Jack Clark with 1B open didn’t work out either), if the defense was merely adequate, we wouldn’t even have this issue!!

  25. Joc and Kiki – I told everyone this was a huge mistake. Now we’re paying the price. It almost made me glad to see Joc crush that HR just to rub it in the FO faces.

    • RichardH, I have to agree. While the FO deserves the credit for the HEIST OF THE CENTURY in bringing over Max and Trea, they are equally responsible for the BLUNDER OF THE CENTURY of letting Kike and Joc go. Joc not as big a loss as Kike.

  26. Ron, exactly but Drrrrrrrrrr’s won’t make the team bunt, squeeze, hit and run. Everyone knows this team can’t hit so bunt for Gods sake. The 3rd basemen is playing 1 step from the outfield grass with the fastest runner in baseball who hasn’t even touched the ball. And he strikes out? Pops up? It just becomes unbearable to watch Drrrrrrrr’s “Launch Angle” offence …… Pitching has never been his strong point to manage, but the ONLY way Roberts played in his career was manufacturing runs because he couldn’t hit either. One would think he’d at least try. I’ve said this all season , ” You HAVE to practice Hit and run, squeezes and Bunting during the regular season like anything else. These players don’t even know how. It’s pathetic.

    • Kirk, how many bunts did the Giants lay down on their way to winning 107? How many bunts have the Red Sox layed down in scoring 24 runs in their last two games?? Hmmm? Bunts ain’t everything.

    • Kirk, DR lifetime .266, Joc .232, Kike .242. DR just had no pop. But saying he couldn’t hit is not exactly accurate.

    • Kirk, look I get the fact you don’t like DR, but at least if you want to criticize him be accurate and have facts to substantiate your claims!

    • Paul, you watching Cheaters vs Red Sox? Cheaters have tons of offense, but it does absolutely no good if you can’t get the other guys out!!! Their lack of PITCHING NOT OFFENSE will end their season short of the WS!

      • Basically we have good enough pitching. But we DON’T have the clutch hitting needed to outscore the opponents. You’re correct about the Cheater stros, but if the offense lays an egg, all the pitching and defense still won’t win the game.In these 2 games there were miscues, agreed. But Dodgers FAILED to hit enough in the clutch, which I still believe contributed most to these 2 losses.

        • Paul, Houston Cheaters have scored 13 runs in 3 games! Down 2-1! Offense ain’t the end all be all.

          • Oh BTW, Cheaters could have scored 21 runs in 3 games and still be down 2-1! Putting up a bunch of crooked numbers on offense does you no good if you can’t stop the other team! But I guess that concept just escapes you Paul.

          • Paul you are correct and Dodgerfan you are wrong. I pitchers did eliminate any real disaster in allowing too many runs to make a difference. They did their job, THE OFFENCE SUCKS AND THAT IS THE REASON WE ARE DOWN 0-2. DOESN’T HAVE A DAMN THING TO DO WITH THE PITCHERS. One more thing, our idiot manager was a contributor in a big way with his decisions on how to manage a pitching staff. I agree with all saying the FO is very likely playing a big role in his decisions, but the is the MANAGER and if he doesn’t have the nuts to make a decision on his own, he needs to get the hell out of the dugout.

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