Dodgers Team News

Dave Roberts Slams Dodgers Bullpen After Tuesday’s Loss to Reds, ‘They’re Not Throwing the Ball Well’

The Dodgers dropped a game they definitely should have won on Tuesday, losing the series opener to the Reds, 9-8.

At one point, the Dodgers led 8-3, and Tuesday’s starter Tony Gonsolin left after five innings with an 8-4 lead. Unfortunately, though, the Dodgers bullpen was unable to hold that lead.

Yency Almonte allowed a run in the sixth inning on three hits and a walk, raising his ERA to 6.84 on the year.

Then, in the seventh inning, Brusdar Graterol allowed a run on four hits.

In the eighth inning, the Dodgers bullpen got their only clean inning, courtesy of a three-up, three-down by Evan Phillips.

But Phillips going in the eighth inning meant Caleb Ferguson going in the ninth, and he struggled mightily against the Reds right-handed hitters, allowing one hit, three walks, a hit batter and ultimately getting the loss with three earned runs. For what it’s worth, Shelby Miller gave up the game-winning hit, but the damage was already done.

After the game, the person who managed the bullpen, Dave Roberts, shared tons of displeasure with the way his guys pitched, starting with Gonsolin.

“To score three runs in the first inning and to go back and give away three in the bottom half, not good. And Tony threw so many pitches in that first inning — he could only go five innings, and we were fortunate to get him through five innings. And so, what that does is that exposes you in the bullpen and then when you go to the bullpen… they got to be better,” Roberts said. “Tonight, Fergie was all over the place. The walks, the hit batter. It sped up on him, and it was very apparent tonight.”


He also talked about the bullpen’s struggles as a whole this season.

“They’re not throwing the ball well,” Roberts said. “There’s walks in there. Like I said, there’s hit batsman in there, there’s no punch and then you’re getting the walk. And so that’s a bad combo and so you know, when you look down there and, you know, I can trust guys, but it comes with, it’s gotta work both ways. The talent’s there, but they’ve got to do their part too and tonight was a night that we shouldn’t have lost this game.”


Those are very harsh words from Roberts, someone many Dodger fans blamed for this loss. And while I do question a ton of his decision-making on Tuesday, I also somewhat agree with him that his guys need to perform better.

While I highly disagreed with him putting Ferguson in the game in the ninth (more on that later), at the same time, an early June game is a good time to see if you can trust him in that spot — and that’s exactly what he said after the game.

“We’re counting on (Caleb) to be a leverage guy regardless of handiness,” Roberts said. “I felt that (the bottom) of the order, he should be able to handle that.”

Obviously he couldn’t, but it’s better for Roberts to know that now than learn it in October.

And as for Graterol and Almonte, they each had no business getting knocked around the way they did — and it’s not Roberts’ fault that Gonsolin struggled so much in the first inning.

However, Roberts can’t shed all the blame for this one, as putting Ferguson in the ninth — whether a good test or not — was pretty much asking for trouble.

Entering Tuesday’s game, righties were slashing .319/.396/.404 against Ferguson, and that’s all he was going to face.

While Roberts made it clear that he didn’t want to use Phillips for a second inning after one day off, he could have just gone to Miller, who’s been dominant against righties all year long to the tune of a .089/.180/.178 slash line.

Roberts can put down the bullpen all he wants, but he also needs to put them in better positions to succeed. So if he wanted to test Ferguson in that spot — which it sounded like he did — he could have just said it and taken the blame for it not working. Because if he didn’t test Ferguson, and instead just brought in Miller, I feel very confident that we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, as the Dodgers would have left Tuesday’s game with a win.

So pick your poison, Dave. Either put your players in the right position to succeed, or take some of the blame after a loss. Tuesday’s game was on you, too.

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Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.


  1. Roberts continually finds ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He needs to accept the blame and he always refuses to do so. It’s time for Dave to be fired.

  2. I will ask again WHEN will the get rid of this loser Roberts!!!! WHEN???? I have asaked it now for 2 years….and still this Dodgers management keeps him..he makes just stupid decsions

  3. Roberts is no Tommie Lasorda and his is no Anderson. He doesn’t use the talent that is on this squad to his advantage. Screwed up line ups and piss poor offensive play with no base stealing or run and hit in mind. Different line up every game… Runners left on Base in scoring position is excessive and unreasonable. Why would you have Betts lead off when he only occasionally gets a hit (HR) to start an inning..
    Roberts is in a must be Fired situation.
    Bring back the Skipper Kevin Kennedy.

  4. Can you imagine Tommy Lasorda blaming his players when he clearly mismanaged his players?!? It would have never happened and it is a sign of a terrible manager to point fingers!

  5. When a relief pitcher throws 12 pitches in an inning and gets the 3 outs, he’s on. Roberts pulls the trigger too often. Leave the guy in if he’s on. You never know if the next guy will be on or not,. So, why tempt fate. 12 pitches could be 18 or 20. If he’s on, leave him for the next inning. So what if the next inning has 3 lH or rH baterrs and your pitcher if lh or rh.

  6. Can you imagine Tommy Lasorda or any decent manager publicly blaming his players especially when it was his mismanagement of the bullpen that is to blame!

  7. Last night’s end of the game was a disaster, and Freddie’s grand slam was clearly wasted. For the life of me, why was Ferguson called upon in the ninth inning when his numbers are not good against right handed batters? Correct me if I am wrong but did he not face three consecutive right handers? Rarely, do I berate Dave Roberts for his choices, but this will be one such time… the bottom of the ninth, when the team is on the cusp of a win after losing the series against the Yankees, is not the time for a pitcher to put on the mound to “practice.”

    Will we ever acquire a closer?

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