NLDS Managerial Report Card: Dave Roberts

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports activities

As I’ve finished for the previous few years, I’m going to be grading every eradicated postseason supervisor on their decision-making. We spend the yr principally ignoring managers’ on-field contributions, as a result of to be sincere, they’re fairly small. Utilizing the improper reliever within the eighth inning simply doesn’t really feel that dangerous on June 22; there are such a lot of extra video games nonetheless coming, and the common season is extra about managing the grind than getting each attainable edge day by day. The playoffs aren’t like that; with so few video games to separate wheat from chaff, each final ounce of win likelihood issues, and managers make personnel selections accordingly. What higher time to grade them?

My aim is to judge every supervisor when it comes to course of, not outcomes. If you happen to usher in your greatest pitcher to face their greatest hitter in an enormous spot, that’s a great choice no matter final result. Attempt a triple steal with the bases loaded solely to have the opposite crew make 4 throwing errors to attain three runs? I’m most likely going to name {that a} blunder despite the fact that it labored out. Managers do loads of different issues – getting crew buy-in for brand spanking new methods and unconventional bullpen utilization behind closed doorways is a ability I discover significantly useful – however as I’ve no perception into how that’s achieved or how every supervisor differs, I can’t precisely assign grades for it.

I’m additionally purposefully avoiding obscure qualitative considerations like “trusting your veterans as a result of they’ve been there earlier than.” Playoff protection lovingly focuses on clutch performs by confirmed performers, however Evan Carter and Corbin Carroll have been nice too. Neglect trusting your veterans – the playoffs are about trusting your greatest gamers. Bryce Harper is vital as a result of he’s a fantastic participant, not due to the variety of playoff sequence he’s appeared in. There’s nothing inherently good about having been round a very long time; after I’m evaluating selections, “however he’s a veteran” simply doesn’t enter my thought course of. I’ve already lined the dropping managers of the Wild Card spherical and the ALDS. Dave Roberts is up subsequent.

Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Batting: C+
I’m undecided that is on Roberts, however I’d be remiss if I didn’t begin this part with a dialogue of the playoff roster. The Dodgers introduced 13 pitchers, which meant a four-player bench. They opted for 2 platoon sorts (Enrique Hernández and Chris Taylor), backup catcher Austin Barnes, and Kolten Wong. They’ve three lefty bats of their regular beginning lineup in opposition to righties; that meant that they’d solely have the ability to pinch-hit for 2 of them of their regular roster shuffle. I might have most popular Amed Rosario in Wong’s spot, however I perceive the problem posed by carrying an enormous pitching workers. It’s value noting that Ryan Pepiot by no means appeared on this sequence, although; possibly they may have used an additional place participant.

In Sport 1 of the NLDS, it hardly mattered. The Diamondbacks went to a lefty specialist for the David Peralta/James Outman section of the LA lineup, and Roberts responded along with his righties. He even acquired Wong in in opposition to a righty, batting for Miguel Rojas. None of it mattered, as a result of the Dodgers had been down 11-0 on the time. Oh nicely.

In Sport 2, the identical scenario repeated itself. The Dodgers put runners on first and second in opposition to Zac Gallen within the backside of the sixth with a pocket of three lefties developing. This time, Torey Lovullo went to lefty Andrew Saalfrank straight away, and Roberts reacted by placing in his platoon bats. With solely two good righty bats on the bench, that meant Outman stayed in and confronted a lefty. That looks as if the best way to go, it simply didn’t work out for LA this time. Although each righties reached to attain a run and hold the bases juiced, Outman struck out. Wong got here in in opposition to the next righty reliever and grounded out, and the Dodgers solely cashed in a single run. There weren’t any levers to drag after that; Arizona held on 4-2.

Roberts determined to modify it up for Sport 3. With Brandon Pfaadt going, the Arizona lefties had been more likely to make an earlier look, which meant the conventional plan of taking out the lefty bats on the first signal of a lefty reliever would depart the Dodgers out of luck when the parade of righty relievers adopted. The answer? Begin Hernández and hold Outman on the bench for later use, say in opposition to a troublesome right-handed reliever.

It labored like a appeal. Pfaadt departed within the high of the fifth with Jason Heyward due up and a person on second. When Joe Mantiply got here in, Taylor pinch-hit, after which Hernández batted subsequent – Roberts achieved the specified platoon matchup and managed to carry Outman in reserve anyway. Naturally, Hernández flew out to finish the menace. Hey, all you are able to do is make your matchups a bit higher, not assure successful.

However wait! Now the Dodgers didn’t have any righty bats on their bench, so Mantiply acquired to face Peralta after which Rojas (can’t usher in a righty right here, or the Dodgers would get to counter with Outman). And saving Outman didn’t assist ultimately. Roberts pinch-hit for Peralta the following time he was due up – with Barnes, who hit .180/.256/.242 this yr. I’d fairly simply hold Peralta in at that time. Outman ended up swapping into that spot within the lineup as a result of nobody else was obtainable to play the outfield, and he by no means acquired to hit. Not perfect!

For probably the most half, although, Roberts was a sufferer of his roster. I assumed the whole lot as much as the Barnes pinch-hitting look made sense. Typically you’ve got a crew with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman and it simply doesn’t rating runs. Simply don’t anticipate a lot sympathy from me should you by some means speak your self into pinch-hitting with a man slugging .240.

Pitching: B-
How lengthy would you let Clayton Kershaw go? He opened Sport 1 double-single-single-double-homer, which could have been sufficient for me. Then again, the Dodgers weren’t anticipating a lot size from the remainder of their starters – I wouldn’t need to ask my bullpen for 27 outs when the plan for the following two video games was a Bobby Miller begin after which a Lance Lynn/bullpen recreation combo. Sadly, Kershaw didn’t have it – he gave up one other run on some arduous contact whereas solely recording a single out. I might need been tempted to let him go so long as he might with no matter he had left within the tank, however it was fairly clear that the one factor in query for this recreation was tips on how to reduce pitcher fatigue.

Provided that, 5.2 innings out of Emmet Sheehan and Shelby Miller appears like a fantastic thought to me. Just a few higher-leverage arms (Michael Grove, Alex Vesia, Caleb Ferguson) closed issues out, however Roberts saved the large names below wraps, precisely as he ought to have.

In Sport 2, déjà vu struck. The Diamondbacks loaded the bases earlier than recording an out. Miller gave up three runs earlier than escaping the primary inning. They adopted that up by placing two runners on with one out within the second. Roberts caught with Miller in opposition to Ketel Marte, and Miller rewarded him with a straightforward out. Then Brusdar Graterol entered to face Tommy Pham. He recorded an out to finish the inning, and I feel the choice right here comes all the way down to Pham’s swing airplane. He’s significantly better in opposition to excessive fastballs than sinkers due to a flat swing. Marte is extra of a fly ball hitter, susceptible on the high of the zone. I favored this choice rather a lot; Roberts accurately recognized that he couldn’t permit these runners to attain and went to a great matchup, having protected his bullpen within the earlier recreation.

Graterol confronted the lineup all the best way to the underside, departing in favor of Ryan Brasier when Corbin Carroll got here in. Brasier used his new cutter to befuddle Carroll and Marte, then switched again to his slider-heavy strategy in opposition to the heaping pile of righties who adopted. A type of righties (Lourdes Gurriel Jr.) clobbered a homer. Now the Dodgers had been up in opposition to it – down 4-2 and with 9 outs to file. Roberts gave Joe Kelly a bit extra leash than I’d like; unusual because it sounds, I might’ve gone to Kelly a batter earlier, in opposition to Alek Thomas within the sixth. Roberts’ utilization meant that Kelly was ineligible to go away the sport in opposition to Carroll, the third batter he confronted. It is best to actually purpose your lefties on the Perdomo/Carroll/Marte a part of the batting order, or no less than the Carroll/Marte half.

Talking of, Carroll and Marte each singled. Now that the lefties had been finished, Kelly was once more the suitable pitcher for the second, and he managed to get Pham to finish the menace, however the Dodgers carried two lefties and Arizona had just one stretch of lefties and change hitters value attacking. It’s bizarre to finish up with Kelly going through him in that scenario. Evan Phillips adopted Kelly – yup, checks out – and general, the Dodgers’ bullpen plan was a hit regardless of a clumsy sequencing second with Kelly. One run and seven.1 innings is a formidable efficiency by the aid corps; possibly the offense ought to have scored just a few extra runs.

By Sport 3, Roberts was absolutely feeling fairly defeated. Lynn drew the beginning and acquired by means of two scoreless innings, however then the meatballs began. A four-seamer down the pipe to Geraldo Perdomo – homer. A cutter lifeless learn to Carroll – groundout. A cutter in Marte’s nitro zone – one other homer. Center-middle cutter to Christian Walker – adios, pelota. Lynn’s command was nonexistent; he buzzed Gabriel Moreno excessive and tight with two pitches, then threw him two four-seamers middle-middle (take, foul), then hung a slider within the meatiest attainable a part of the plate for an additional homer. Assume it was simply dangerous luck? That foul ball was pummeled out of the park, solely possibly two toes foul down the suitable area line.

The one factor Roberts might have finished in another way right here was take away Lynn after, I don’t know, possibly the second homer. He was clearly making a number of errors over the middle of the plate. However despite the fact that that appears like a minor distinction – he let a struggling starter face two to a few further batters – these minor variations add up. Walker is a fly ball hitter who will get most of his worth by means of homers. You need Lance Lynn, whose best weak spot is surrendering homers, going through that man? It appeared fairly clear that Lynn didn’t have it by the point he confronted Moreno, and this was a do-or-die recreation; that homer was significantly egregious as a result of Roberts actually couldn’t afford any extra runs.

Every thing after this went kind of by the e-book; Roberts used lefties in opposition to susceptible pockets of the Diamondbacks lineup and sprinkled in a heaping serving to of his greatest relievers to complete out the sport. The bullpen went 6.1 innings and didn’t permit a run. The Dodgers misplaced 4-2. I don’t need to let Roberts off the hook for leaving Lynn in too lengthy, however when your starters provide you with 4.2 innings throughout two video games and your greatest flaw as a supervisor is leaving them in too lengthy, you most likely weren’t successful that sequence.

Due to these further batters Lynn confronted and due to the tiny misstep with Kelly, I can’t get any increased than a B- for my grade right here. However let’s be sincere: Roberts was dealt a horrendous hand in these playoffs. He had just a few good strikes, too; Graterol in opposition to Pham was one I significantly favored. He’s had his share of bullpen foibles prior to now, however his pitchers didn’t pitch and his hitters didn’t hit. The most effective supervisor in historical past, whoever that could be, wasn’t successful this sequence.



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