All over the Dodger Baseball Blogs, fans are losing their minds about the lineups Dave Roberts is rolling out there. They are questioning his batting orders, substitutions, resting players and use of minor leaguers. Let me remind you that Dave Roberts was the NL Manager of the Year in 2016 and is the odds-on favorite to win it this year. So, is is likely that Dave Roberts has suddenly lost his mind? Not only is it not likely, but it’s all part of the plan. I’ll explain.
Many of us felt that the Dodgers were on the cusp of making history by winning 117 games – most of all time, by surpassing the 2001 Seattle Mariners who won a whopping 116 games. The Mariners used only 15 pitchers that year and Lou Piniella kept “the-pedal-to-the-metal” and the team responded… even though most of the final month, they were up 14 or 15 games. It turns out they were gassed and the Yankees beat them 4-1 in the ALCS.
Dave Roberts and the Front Office don’t care about THAT record – they care about putting the team in the best position to win the World Series in 2017. That’s all. They are resting some guys and putting others into situations to see how that player responds to certain situations.
- How will Fabio Castillo do in back-to-back games?
- Can Cingrani and Watson be high leverage guys?
- Can Granderson hit #2?
- Can Logan Forsythe hit RHP?
- Is Luis Avilan a high leverage guy?
- Can Grandal and Gonzo hit in the heart of the order?
- Can Austin Barnes hit higher in the order?
- Is Verdugo an option and can he play CF?
- Can Wilmer Font be a middle-reliever?
Doc is willing to lose some battles in order to assess how some new players fit into the scheme of things. He is talking his foot off the gas and playing this like it is Spring Training. Is that the right way to do it? I don’t know, but I am sure Lou Piniella might have done things differently in 2001 if he could have done it over. It’s the right thing to do… if it works! It’s obvious that the Dodgers are coasting. It’s almost a Spring Training-Type of Audition for the players. In reality, some players need time to get acclimated to the big leagues, to get their timing down and the like.
Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood are trying to get re-adjusted mechanically and timing-wise. The rookies are trying to get their sea legs and adjust to the majors, and the Dodgers have a 14 game lead. Doc is not pushing the team right now, although he will soon start getting them ready for the war. He’s willing to lose some battles, right now, in order to win that war.
Dave Roberts is getting some good intel on his players so that he can best pick the 25 for the playoffs. Doc has not lost his mind and neither should we – it’s all parts of his plan and that plan is Total World Domination in 2017!