Dave Roberts has questionable explanation for game-costing bullpen decision
The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen blew Saturday’s game against Colorado, and manager Dave Roberts took heat afterwards for the way he handled things.
The Dodgers entered the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead over the Rockies on the heels of seven shutout innings from starter Walker Buehler and a 1-2-3 eighth inning from reliever Caleb Ferguson. However, Roberts decided to go with Scott Alexander to open the ninth, and Alexander allowed a double to Trevor Story. Roberts then brought in JT Chargois, who hit Ian Desmond with a pitch before giving up a walkoff home run to Ryan McMahon as Colorado won 3-2.
Speaking with reporters during his postgame press conference, Roberts was questioned about why he didn’t put Ferguson back out there for the ninth. He replied that it was “predetermined” before the game that Ferguson would only be available for one inning, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.
Dave Roberts said Caleb Ferguson was only available for one inning, which was "predetermined" before the game.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 12, 2018
Roberts’ explanation soon drew criticism and mockery from many on Twitter.
So he decided to lose game before it started?
— Quinton Vashei (@daddybear805) August 12, 2018
And you can’t deviate from the game plan ????
— Anita (@d_blue_mom57) August 12, 2018
If he could only pitch one, why not save him for the 9th?
— Blue Rooster (@BlueRooster2018) August 12, 2018
— (@NotJocPederson) August 12, 2018
To be fair, Roberts is trying to figure out his bullpen situation on the fly with All-Star closer Kenley Jansen suddenly out for what could be a lengthy period. But his responsiveness to Saturday’s game situation left a lot to be desired. Even if Ferguson was only available to pitch one inning, Roberts burned him on Colorado’s 9, 1, and 2 hitters in the eighth, leaving his lesser relievers to face the heart of the Rockies order in the ninth.
The Dodgers are now tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West lead (with Colorado lurking just 1.5 games behind). As such, costly decisions like this from Roberts could really come back to haunt them down the stretch.