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Monday, December 17, 2018

Dave Roberts has questionable explanation for game-costing bullpen decision

Dave Roberts

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.

Roberts’ explanation soon drew criticism and mockery from many on Twitter.

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.

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