The loose tongue of Dave Roberts

The Dodgers have an excellent team, possibly the best in the majors. They also have a bloated budget, but remain a top club with the best record in major league baseball at the time of this writing.

Before the start of the season, in a popular American radio interview, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts predicted that his team would win the World Series in 2022. Was he showing arrogance or simply blind trust in his team? It depends on opinions and how you see things. But was it really necessary?

Pressure for the month of October?

Since things are going very well for the Dodgers right now, Roberts can sleep very well, even after the rare losses. His players have responded very well, so far, to this more or less necessary pressure. And it’s important to remember that it’s the October games that people are going to remember and not the fact that the Dodgers had the best record in major league baseball.

The good news is that the new playoff formula will benefit the best teams, like the Dodgers. The two division champions with the best records will get a bye to the first round, while the other teams will battle it out in a 2-of-3 series to try to advance to the division series.

Concerns on the mound

Although the Dodgers will likely end the season with the best record in the majors, I’m not sure they should be considered favorites for the top honors. Especially since in the last few years, it’s the bullpen that has often won championships and for the Dodgers, it’s certainly not strength.

At the start of the season, the troupe of Dave Roberts seemed well off on the mound, but things changed along the way. Their top starter, Walker Buehler, had elbow surgery and his season is over. Clayton Kershaw still has back pain and Craig Kimbrel is having a season below expectations and every rescue situation becomes perilous. And several other pieces of the puzzle are also on the injured list.

There’s certainly a positive in watching the hatching of reliever Evan Phillips and starter Tony Gonsolin and the healthy return of tall redhead Dustin May. But it seems to me that there are more question marks than positives when I look at the two veteran left-handers, Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson, among others, who have relaunched their respective careers in Los Angeles this season. Dave Roberts can say all he wants about his pitching staff, but every baseball fan knows they’re less solid than he claims.

Saved by their attack?

There aren’t many teams that can boast an offense as fearsome as the Dodgers. The top 3 roster with Betts, Freeman and Trae Turner is really solid. The heart of the formation can still do the job with among others Will Smith, Justin Turner and the young Gavin Lux, who is having an excellent season. But maybe it will be the others who will make the difference. Cody Bellinger, who struggles to keep his average above .200, will certainly be a key player. Same thing for Max Muncy, who is not even close to hitting for his weight, just like Joey Gallo, even if the latter hits better since his transfer from New York to Los Angeles.

Last year, Chris Taylor had an excellent playoff, which earned him a new 4-year, $60 million deal with the Dodgers. Although he’s having an ordinary season, with a lot of strikeouts, Taylor has a habit of upping his game in important games. And maybe Trayce Thompson (the brother of Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA) can continue to surprise and help the Dodgers outfield. I don’t know if the Dodgers have the best offense in major league baseball, but they’re definitely in the top 3.

Will they go all the way?

The Dodgers certainly have a chance of going all the way with the quality of their team and especially their offense. But the way the Braves and several other teams have won top honors is with a strong bullpen that had 4 or 5 really high quality arms, which the Dodgers don’t. When I look at clubs like the Braves in the National League or the Astros in the American League, I find those teams are better built than the Dodgers to take the top honors.

I’ve always loved the Dodgers, especially since Orel Hershiser was my favorite pitcher growing up. But since Dave Roberts is the manager of this team, and this is his 7th season, I lost a little affection for the Californian formation. I find that Roberts’ way of managing – as well as his often too loose tongue – does not help the team’s cause at all. Whether his team will respond to the pressure in the big playoff games remains to be seen, because otherwise his head could roll sooner rather than later. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts predicted his team would win the World Series in 2022. Did he show arrogance or just blind faith in his team? It depends on opinions and how you see things. But was it really necessary?

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