It’s only October 10, but the Dodgers will not be playing any more baseball until Spring. They lost to the Nationals 7-3 in 10 innings and were eliminated from postseason play. As the Nationals celebrated on the field, the Dodgers could only watch after they failed in October for the 7th straight year.
Some blame for this loss belongs to the Dodger players. After all, they couldn’t add more insurance or hold a lead. Some credit goes to the Nationals for the way the played. But most of the blame goes to Dave Roberts, the manager who didn’t manage well this postseason.
All his mistakes culminated in game 5 where he made some really bad decisions.
After Walker Buehler ran into trouble in the 7th, Clayton Kershaw came out of the bullpen to save the day. He successfully ended the inning and was sent out for the 8th. But this is where Roberts’ first mistake came. He didn’t have anyone warming in the bullpen.
With a two-run lead, Roberts should have thought ahead and already had someone ready to take over. But when Kershaw gave up a homer to begin the inning, no one was ready. So Kershaw stayed in and gave up another homer to tie the game.
But Roberts’ final and most costly mistake came in the 10th inning. After Joe Kelly pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning, he was sent out for another inning. But I could tell after one pitch that he would be a disaster. Dave Roberts, on the other hand, didn’t get the clue.
Kelly walked the leadoff man, then gave up a double. Even though two pitchers were warming in the bullpen, Dave Roberts stuck with Kelly, intentionally walked Juan Soto, so Kelly could face Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded.
One low fastball later, the Dodgers’ hopes of winning the game were gone. Kendrick hit a Grand Slam. But it still took two more batters before Roberts finally pulled Kelly.
People will use the excuse that Jansen wasn’t loose yet. But that’s really a poor excuse. It’s the postseason and Dave Roberts wasn’t aggressive enough, nor did he think ahead, when it came to his bullpen usage.