I had no words last night. Today, I have a few.
Tag: Dave Roberts (Page 1 of 4)
This is Dave Roberts’ managerial record with the Dodgers through 162 x 5 games: 2016: 91-71 (.562), NL West champion 2017: 104-58 (.642), NL champion 2018: 92-71 (.564), NL champion 2019: 106-56 (.654), NL West champion 2020-21: 104-57 (.646), World Series champion in 2020 Total: 497-313 (.614), five division titles, three pennants, one World Series Since 2019, Roberts has essentially produced back-to-back seasons of more than 100 wins, including a World Series title. He has won at least 100 games three times in the equivalent of five seasons. At present, he ranks seventh in major-league history in winning percentage. This week, he will likely win his 500th game, all before turning 50. The Irony Committee-approved irony about publishing a story about Roberts’ record today is that he would have already hit the impressive 500-win milestone, if not for last week’s unfortunate Dodger meltdowns. In this year’s new edition of 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, you won’t find very many hot takes. Depending on how you feel about things, you might not find any. But maybe the closest that I come to offering one is in the book’s new chapter on Roberts, when I make the case that the Dodger manager is on an early path to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yeah, that’s right. Let me qualify things in a hurry. First of all, “early” is “early.” Roberts still has a lot to do before he would even be considered for Cooperstown. For all I know, his managerial career could end in three months, and this discussion becomes a speck of dust on the basepath of life. Second, whether Roberts would be elected is a separate question from whether he is deserving. He could be elected without being deserving, and he could be deserving without being elected. Nevertheless, it actually seems pretty obvious to me that on his current trajectory, Roberts would be enshrined in the Hall, and the only controversy inherent in this news is that it will come as a shock to a number of fans — perhaps Dodger fans more than any others. And maybe, just maybe, that means there’s more to Roberts than the managerial decisions that infuriate so many. To back up my belief, here’s what I wrote about Roberts in 100 Things Dodgers before the season began. I’ll add more thoughts after this excerpt.
In front of an emotionally eviscerated Dodger fan base, in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2018 World Series on October 27, Kiké Hernández came to the plate at Dodger Stadium.
Only an hour earlier, a thrilling glow suffused Chavez Ravine. Having survived an 18-inning Game 3 marathon, Los Angeles had taken a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers were eight outs away from evening the Fall Classic at two games apiece.
Then their world collapsed around them like a dream in Inception. Nine Boston baserunners crossed the plate, the final four in the top of the ninth, obliterating a beautiful consciousness.
In that soul-darkening ninth inning, Hernández stood at the plate as a symbol of star-crossed Octobers. Coming off the most successful regular season of his major-league career, Hernández homered in his 2018 playoff debut, the Dodgers’ 6-0 trouncing of Atlanta in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. The multiposition master, baseball’s Swiss Army knife, then went 12 consecutive games without a single extra-base hit or RBI.
Hernández couldn’t hit right-handed pitching. He couldn’t hit left-handed pitching. He couldn’t hit, period. Entering the gloom of Game 4’s waning moments, Hernández had made 30 outs in his past 33 at-bats.
As another fallen hope stood on first base in the person of Brian Dozier, Hernández took two fastballs from Boston closer Craig Kimbrel, then let rip at a knuckle-curve and launched a fly ball to deep left-center for a two-run home run. Except for the fleeting sliver of hope it kindled in those who could conceive the greatest miracle postseason comeback in Dodger history, it was a footnote. The Dodgers lost the game by the score of 9-6 instead of 9-4.
The next day, in a game the Dodgers could not spare, Hernández was in the starting lineup against Boston lefty David Price, batting third.
If not for the double plays that his team grounded into during the seventh, eighth and ninth innings Saturday, Dodger pitcher, Kenta Maeda, would have been batting in the ninth inning of an absolute nail-biter in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
If not for the 4-3 lead the Dodgers had taken despite those double plays, Maeda — or a pinch-hitting Clayton Kershaw — might have been batting to keep the Dodgers alive.
If not for the Dodger bullpen’s work in holding that 4-3 lead, scheduled Game 4 starter, Rich Hill, would have taken the mound for Los Angeles to start the bottom of the 10th inning.
If not for Austin Barnes avoiding any injury that could have come in the final hour of the game, Max Muncy, who has never played catcher professionally, would have had to go behind the plate.
Any of these scenarios would have exposed Dodger manager Dave Roberts to toxic criticism. Instead, Roberts sashayed home to Los Angeles with a well-earned split of the first two NLCS games.
I’m here to tell you that even if the Dodgers had lost the game, Roberts made the right moves.
Hi there. It’s been a while. The Dodgers appear to have been doing well. Hope you weren’t waiting for me to tell you that here. Also, I finished the draft of the book on the Dodgers I started before I left for Showtime. It’s coming out next spring, and you’ll begin hearing details about it sometime in the next few months. Believe me, I won’t be shy.
Anyway, I’m on a brief staycation and with a little free time, wanted to share some quick, you know, Dodger thoughts.
By Jon Weisman
Corey Seager is a finalist for both the National League Rookie of the Year Award and the NL Most Valuable Player Award, MLB and the Baseball Writers Association of America have announced.
Kenta Maeda is also one of the three NL Rookie of the Year finalists, while Dave Roberts is in the final countdown for NL Manager of the Year.
With Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester of the Cubs announced as finalists for the NL Cy Young, Clayton Kershaw’s streak of five consecutive top-three finishes has ended — though Kershaw still led NL pitchers in WAR despite being limited to 149 innings.
The winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced November 14, followed by NL Manager of the Year on November 15, NL Cy Young on November 16 and NL MVP on November 17.
By Jon Weisman
When you fall short of a championship, as the Dodgers did this year, there’s a certain game face you’re required to display — a certain stoicism or even gravity.
Show any pride in partial achievement, and you risk conveying that you aren’t committed to the larger goal, that you don’t understand how important a title is, that you just don’t get it.
The reality is, yes, you can feel good about the positives from a season without diminishing the craving — the gut-wrenching craving — for ultimate greatness. Pride and desire aren’t opposites.
Think of your team as you would your child. To want anything less than the best for your kin would be negligent. To dismiss your children’s smaller accomplishments wholesale when they aren’t the best — that’s negligent, too.
You learn from failure, but you can also feed off success.
When Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts met reporters this afternoon to bring closure to the Dodgers’ season, the different threads were front and center. No one felt ashamed of the effort or the intermediate achievements, even if no one was satisfied with the final result.
In other words, there was no mistaking the determination to go farther. Pride and desire.
“Obviously, the No. 1 goal is to play in the World Series, and we came up short,” said Roberts, who was named Sporting News NL Manager of the Year today. “I think a lot of good things are in place to bring a championship back here to Los Angeles. Since last December, the process of how we go about things as an organization, how the guys on the field play the game … I think we did a lot of good things.
“You can look back at this past series (against Chicago), and we didn’t play our best baseball and certain things could have changed that would have affected the outcome. You can talk about that forever. But I think the time we put into creating an environment, syncing it with the ownership, front office, coaching staff, players, training staff — those are things that are really tangible I think. I think that is something we’re going to hang our hats on, and we’ll be ready to go next spring.”
By Jon Weisman
Remarkably, Roberts is the first Dodger named Manager of the Year by the Sporting News since Walter Alston, who won the honor in 1955, 1959 and 1963, when there was only one award to cover both leagues. Leo Durocher was the first in the franchise to win the award, in 1939.
During the Dodgers’ two World Series title seasons under Tommy Lasorda in 1981 and 1988, the Sporting News honored Oakland’s Billy Martin (1981 overall winner) and Pittsburgh’s Jim Leyland (NL 1988).
Major League managers form the voting body for this award. Roberts won seven of a possible 14 votes in the NL, followed by Washington’s Dusty Baker and Chicago’s Joe Maddon, who had three apiece.
By Jon Weisman
Late on Tuesday evening, it had started to feel real, more real than it had felt in a long, long time.
Three nights earlier, the Dodgers had nearly stolen Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, despite their most disadvantageous pitching matchup and coming off an exhausting National League Division Series. No matter — over the next two ballgames, the Dodgers completely shut down the best team in baseball during the regular season, allowing not a single Cub to score. The offense pushed across six runs in Game 3, the pitching was as rested as it had been in two weeks.
Los Angeles was two games away from the World Series with four to play.
Four nights later, the Dodgers went to bed with their season over, left to ponder how far they had gone, how close they had come and how short they fell.
By Jon Weisman
Kenta Maeda will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday, Dave Roberts confirmed, with Clayton Kershaw looking likely to make Sunday’s Game 2 start.
Kershaw was in good shape after Thursday’s late-night bullpen session that climaxed with the final seven pitches of the Dodgers’ National League Division Series clincher over Washington.
By Jon Weisman
The eight position players the Dodgers have used in their three previous National League Division Series games against right-handed starters will take the field tonight for Game 5 in Washington against Max Scherzer.
Over six innings in Game 1 six days ago, Scherzer walked none, hit one (Justin Turner) and allowed only five hits, but two of those hits were home runs. That’s basically the one vulnerability for Scherzer, who led NL pitchers with 31 gopher balls.
Including his final three regular-season starts, the 32-year-old Scherzer has given up seven homers in his past 23 2/3 innings.
“I think there’s a lot of confidence,” Dave Roberts said this afternoon of the Dodger offense. “Obviously, when you face Scherzer, whether you faced him a few days ago or you haven’t, this guy’s got elite stuff. He’s a big-game pitcher. Our guys realize that. But having known that we have gotten to him before, and recently, I think that that bodes good for us and our psyche.
By Jon Weisman
Two critical factors in favor of Julio Urías starting today’s Game 4 of the National League Division Series fell away Monday.
No. 1 was that the Dodgers lost, making today’s game an elimination game. No. 2 was that the Dodger bullpen, already on its heels after Saturday’s postponement and Sunday’s 3 2/3 innings, was forced to throw 131 pitches Monday after Kenta Maeda’s fourth-inning exit.
Whatever you might speculate about Clayton Kershaw’s durability at this point, his typical outing is longer than a typical outing for the 20-year-old Urías. With that in mind, the Dodgers decided to put their best pitcher out there today.
One whom, it must be added, has actually thrived on three days’ rest, with a 1.89 ERA in 19 such innings over three starts.
“With Clayton, we had complete certainty from the training staff (and) doctors that health wasn’t a factor,” Dave Roberts said. “Obviously, it’s a game we need to win. One, Clayton gives us the best chance to win, and two, he gives us the best chance to go deeper into a game.”
Basically, the Dodgers need to play 18 innings of winning baseball over the next three days. The Dodgers will start attacking those innings with Kershaw, and then use the remaining 10 pitchers on their staff (except, one supposes, for Kenta Maeda) to cover the rest.
By Jon Weisman
Tomorrow really is just a day away. Friday’s opening game of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Nationals comes in about 24 hours, depending on when exactly you’re reading this.
Here’s what been percolating …
By Jon Weisman
The Dodgers faced several hard choices in coming up with their 25-man roster for the National League Division Series — and to some extent, the specific matchup with the Washington Nationals served as a tiebreaker.