…the dude all of New England fell in love with when he stole that base in 2004 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. We all know what happened after that. And the Boston Red Sox fans certainly still showed him they loved him when he got a pretty good ovation after being introduced at Fenway Park prior to Game 1 of this World Series.
But you know what? There is a pretty good possibility that everyone in New England may love him even more now. I think I do. Why? Well, the lineups of course. Simple as that.
Roberts is now, of course, the third year manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Seems like he is a pretty good skipper overall. Sure, he is in a city that can spend some money, but the Dodgers have finished first in all three of his seasons, with last year coming a game short of winning the whole enchilada. Nothing to sneeze at, regardless of how much payroll is available.
I cannot say I am impressed with his work in the current World Series, however. I mean, the whole “lefty/righty” thing may make sense on paper. And also in the National League in general. And also maybe in the regular season. But when you get to the Fall Classic, you simply have to play your best guys. There’s no other way around it.
I don’t care how bad Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal have hit in the playoffs. There is no way they should be on the bench in favor of Brian Dozier, Kike (don’t call me Enrique) Hernandez and Austin Barnes under any circumstances. Dozier was absolutely abysmal since coming over from the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline. And Barnes and Kiki simply aren’t really any good.
Not to mention that the Dodgers had an additional bat they could add in the American League park with the DH being available.
Platooning can work, sure. But you must have guys that are actually good to do it. And maybe you shouldn’t bury some of your better hitters in the most important games of the season?
Listen, Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game. And David Price has pitched well the second half of the season himself in trying to get back to where he was once one of the best pitchers in the game.
But Sale has not pitched much since July and questions abound with him still. He was ok in Game 1. Price? Sure he was lights out in the Houston clincher. But with his postseason track record, could you really depend on him doing that again? Seems to me that Roberts should have rolled his best players out there, regardless of what side of the plate they bat from.
Now, this series is far from over, don’t get me wrong. I fully expect the Dodgers to head back to LA, get those guys back in the lineup, and maybe hammer Rick Porcello in Game 3. But if the Sox win Game 3? I kind of feel we may see Eduardo Rodriguez start Game 4. Maybe a little Drew Pomeranz coming in after that. I know…yuck…for a Sox fan anyway. But if they win Game 3 and use Nathan Eovaldi in a key relief role again, this is probably what’s going to happen. If we are lucky, we will get to see Heath Hembree in that scenario too!
Bottom line, if Roberts rolls out the same lineup under that E-Rod starting scenario as he did in Games 1 and 2, well…E-Rod and Pomeranz may actually do some damage…
But if he stops overmanaging and puts his best players in regardless, the three home games in LA may actually get these guys back into the series.
The Sox look good…and it may very well be their year. But there is a looooong way to go.
Here’s hoping Dave Roberts comes through for the Sox again though…