SAN DIEGO – Dave Roberts is not panicking and he doesn’t think you should either.
“It’s the same team,” the Dodgers manager said before that team lost for the eighth time in the past nine games Sunday. “We have the same goal. And we’re going to be just fine. We can’t win every game.
“I hope they (fans) don’t jump off the bandwagon.”
Well, it isn’t quite the same team.
The offense has slumped while Cody Bellinger spent 10 days on the DL and Corey Seager took a week off (with more to come) to nurse a troublesome elbow. The starting pitchers have a 7.65 ERA over the past nine games. But four of those games have been started by pitchers (Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart) who would only start a postseason game for the Dodgers if something goes dreadfully wrong and might not even be on a postseason roster. The lineup has similarly been populated more frequently by players who will be watching from the sidelines in October.
That should do more to assuage the anxieties of anyone overestimating the importance of the Dodgers’ recent struggles.
“That’s fair,” Roberts said. “But regardless of who we put out there, we feel we should win. It doesn’t matter which guy is starting, I think they feel confident they should put up zeroes. And whoever we put in the lineup feels they should play defense and put up some at-bats. If you look back at the games we haven’t won, we had opportunities to tack on a run, to make a play that we didn’t make.
“Yeah … there’s only 25 spots on a postseason roster. We don’t know them yet. So there’s a little mix-and-matching right now. But I still feel whoever we run out there we should win a game.”
Still, Roberts was reluctant to characterize the past couple weeks as the Dodgers inevitably – and wisely – taking their foot off the gas, a luxury afforded them by the big lead they built in the National League West.
“No, I don’t (think so),” Roberts said. “The thing is — we knew at this point in time, the position we put ourselves in that there’s a balance … not playing everyone which could be constituted as taking your foot off the gas vs. running the same guys out there every single day to kill them to be relentless and eventually to wear them down.
“Everyone in that clubhouse knows our vision and what we’re trying to do in the process.”
The Pacific Coast League season concludes Monday and the Dodgers are expected to add more…