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#pounditWednesday, July 24, 2024

Dave Roberts explains using Justin Turner as pitcher in 5-0 game

Dave Roberts

It’s not uncommon for managers to use a position player to pitch the final inning of a blowout loss. It saves the bullpen in a game the team is unlikely to win anyway.

On Sunday, however, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts surprisingly used Justin Turner to pitch the final inning of a relatively close 5-0 game against the Colorado Rockies. Turner gave up two hits, but did not allow a run in a scoreless inning.

The decision surprised some, as position players usually appear in more lopsided games than this one. Afterwards, Roberts explained that he felt the Dodgers were unlikely to come back and win, and Turner was willing to take on the challenge in order to preserve the bullpen.

The Dodgers have been leaning heavily on their bullpen in recent days thanks to the use of openers. That’s the risk, and Roberts didn’t want to burn out his bullpen in what he saw as a losing effort.

Roberts’ bullpen handling has at times been controversial. This worked out fine, but it’s fair to wonder if it will become more common going forward.

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