Dave Roberts will be managing the NL All-Star team in Washington D.C. next week, and he is looking forward to the opportunity. The Dodgers’ skipper appeared on Lunchtime with Roggin on Rodney on AM570 on Wednesday afternoon to discuss several topics, including the impact Matt Kemp has had in the clubhouse.
— AM 570 LA Sports (@AM570LASports) July 11, 2018
Praising Matt Kemp
When asked about Matt Kemp’s presence in the Dodgers clubhouse, Roberts only had positive things to say.
“I think that everything he [Kemp] does is pro, and I think that’s the biggest compliment I can give to him,” Roberts said.
He went on to suggest the power of that professionalism:
“[Kemp’s] manner is contagious, and it’s really impacted all of our guys.”
Show co-host Fred Roggin pointed out that the last time Kemp was with the Dodgers he didn’t have the same reputation. He was often criticized for being a negative presence in the clubhouse. Roberts responded by defending the All-Star, pointing out that when rumors are spread, players rarely try to defend themselves.
“I was in the same clubhouse with Matt in San Diego, this guy was a great clubhouse guy. . . I would argue that point until the end” he said.
Staying the Course
In regards to the Dodgers’ alarmingly poor start to this season, Roberts expressed confidence in his approach.
“Our attitude has been very consistent. The players . . . read a lot of [negative] things that are written about them and our ballclub. For me and the coaches, to keep our guys focused on winning a baseball game, that’s what we’ve done.”
Besides that, Roberts went on to point out that seasons are long and concerns pointed out early on were not so different from years past:
“In these three years for me, we’ve had that same narrative every year, and we’ve withstood that . . . and been a really good ballclub at the end and I expect the same thing, and haven’t wavered from that.”
Roberts had nothing but good things to say about the return of outfielder Andrew Toles.
“Everyone loves Tolesy. He brings an authentic naivete to the clubhouse and he can hit! For him to get a big hit for us that first night was great” Roberts said.
He denied any involvement with the pranksters who had apparently left obscene messages on the car Toles left in the Dodgers parking lot for nearly four months.
Kershaw’s Progress and Pitching Strategy
Talking about Clayton Kershaw, Roberts was upbeat in his tone.
“The other night was the best I’ve seen his slider in quite some time,” Roberts said. He listed several other indicators that give him confidence in Kershaw’s progress since returning from the DL.
“He [Kershaw] feels good, and so I think if he’s in a good place physically and mentally that obviously bodes well for our ballclub.”
The hosts then asked Roberts how he planned on managing what might soon be a surplus of starting pitchers. He reiterated that his goal is to do whatever will be best for the team.
“It’s my job to keep guys focused on the bigger picture, the team has to be the focus. Those are conversations we have and guys just have to buy into it. It comes with a lot of unselfishness, which we have from our guys,” Roberts said.
Overall it’s an entertaining interview that gives a valuable glimpse into the mind of the Dodgers’ skipper. You can listen to the full segment through the tweet above or by clicking here.
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