- Tim Burke
Defending Dave Roberts and Clayton Kershaw
I have often said that Dave Roberts is the best manager in baseball. After game 5 of the NLDS my opinion is not a popular one. Clayton Kershaw is without a doubt one of the best pitchers of this generation. Three Cy Young awards and five ERA titles, Kershaw is destined for Cooperstown. The idea of "fans" running over his jersey in the parking lot after he blows a two run lead in an elimination game is horrible. There is nobody who feels worse about this loss than him.
Postseason Kershaw Narrative
Kershaw is known for not being himself in the post season. His 9-11 record and 4.43 October ERA speaks volumes. We forget there is often flashes of brilliance in postseason Kershaw.
This guy is a competitor and he wants a ring as bad as anyone. His October struggles are unfortunate but the best in the game make adjustments. Kershaw is a fantastic pitcher. I believe he will end his playoff struggles. I always have and always will. Dave Roberts does too. He trusts his best pitcher to get the job done. He gives him the opportunity to silence his critics. I respect that he will go against analytics and trust his guys.
Dave Roberts probably should have taken out Joe Kelly sooner than he did. Kelly was lights out in the ninth but his tenth inning was a disaster. The task of facing the heart of Nationals order is a daunting one. Joe Kelly is a power arm who was going up against power bats. He just lost this battle. Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon are as dynamic as any duo in baseball. That showed in this series. I think the Nationals were destined to score that inning no matter who was on the mound.
Lack of Offense
After a third inning single from Joc Pederson the dodgers only got two hits. Credit to Stephen Strasburg for dialing in after a shaky start. He is one of the best for a reason. Tip of the cap to the nationals pitching.
The Dodgers going two for their last twenty eight in game 5 and their 5-37 with runners in scoring position the NLDS is a major favor in their stunning elimination.
On paper this is an upset but I’m not too shocked. I obviously felt the Dodgers were the best in baseball but the Nationals are as a good as anyone these playoffs. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez make up a great playoff rotation. Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon are as dynamic as any duo in baseball. That showed in this series. Fun fact, Wild Card teams are 33-34 all time in the division series. As Billy Beane says whatever happens in the playoffs is luck.
Nobody better than Roberts
Fire Dave Roberts chants are tough to see. He is close to 400 managerial wins in just four seasons. He has won the National League West four times and won two National League Pennants. Firing him would just be unfair. Yes, they have had some tough pills to swallow in the postseason but no other Manager could do better than Roberts the last four seasons. Be careful what you wish for Dodger fans.