The Los Angeles Dodgers are on the brink of disappointment yet again.
After losing the first two games of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers must win three straight — two of them in Arizona — if they want to advance to the NLCS.
The Dodgers — winners of 100-plus games in the last four full seasons — are at risk of another early postseason exit, this one to an 84-win team.
A disappointment as drastic as this one will definitely warrant change, and those changes will likely come at the top involving people in the front office and on the coaching staff.
Tuesday, on what could potentially be the team’s final off day of the season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts missed the team’s optional workout to have meetings with the front office. That only furthered any speculation regarding his job security.
But as we enter what could be the Dodgers’ final game of the 2023 season, I want to make one thing abundantly clear:
Dave Roberts will be the manager of the Dodgers for the 2024 season.
Dave Roberts became the manager of the Dodgers heading into the 2016 season. He took over a team that had just won the NL West in three straight seasons, but lost in the NLCS, NLDS and NLDS, respectively.
The Dodgers wanted a new voice in the clubhouse, so out went Don Mattingly, and in came one-time Dodgers outfielder Dave Roberts. Here’s how his tenure has gone:
2016: Dodgers win the NL West and make it to the NLCS, where they lose in six games to the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
2017: Dodgers win the NL West and make it to the World Series, where they lose in seven games to the trashcan-banging Houston Astros.
2018: Dodgers win the NL West and make it to the World Series, where they lose in five games to the Boston Red Sox.
2019: Dodgers win the NL West and suffer their first big disappointment, losing in the NLDS to the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals.
2020: Dodgers win the NL West and finally win their first World Series since 1988 in the COVID-shortened regular season and longer postseason.
2021: Dodgers win the NL West and make it to the NLCS, where they lose in six games to the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves.
2022: Dodgers win the NL West and suffer their second big disappointment, losing in the NLDS to the San Diego Padres. This is the first time under Dave Roberts’ tenure that the Dodgers weren’t eliminated by the eventual World Series champion.
And now here we are in 2023. The Dodgers won the NL West in dominant fashion, and despite all the roster turnover and infusion of aging veterans and up-and-coming prospects, found a way to win 100 games.
That wasn’t supposed to be the case.
The Padres, fresh off winning the offseason, were supposed to win the NL West this year.
The Dodgers, in a year of transition, were supposed to claw their way into postseason contention. Instead, they coasted for the last few months of the year as division champs.
Despite losing Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner in the offseason, the offense still managed to set a Los Angeles franchise record with 906 runs scored. Despite losing three key starting pitchers in Julio Urias, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, and having Walker Buehler’s return shut down, the Dodgers still managed to win 100 games.
The Dodgers have enjoyed unprecedented success over the last eight seasons, and Roberts’ role cannot be understated.
Yes, Roberts’ decision-making, especially come the postseason, has not always been perfect (although it’s easy to wonder if those decisions are coming from up top, anyway).
But in a year where everyone expected the Dodgers to take a backseat, it was Dave Roberts’ managing that led this team to yet another division title.
Dave Roberts has a record of 753-442 in his eight years with the Dodgers. That .630 winning percentage is third all-time, with only two Negro League managers ahead of him at .633.
Dave Roberts is the first National League manager ever to lead his team to the postseason in his first eight seasons.
Dave Roberts has recorded 100-win seasons in five of his eight seasons, becoming the fifth manager in MLB history with five such seasons. Just two manager shave six such seasons.
The Dodgers under Dave Roberts have become the class of the MLB. Yes, they only have one World Series to show for it, but the MLB postseason is a crapshoot. And whether you like his decision-making or not, at the end of the day, it’s the Dodgers’ bats that have failed them over their last two postseasons.
Dave Roberts made all the right decisions in Game 2 against the Diamondbacks. He pulled all the right levers, and was the reason the Dodgers had any chance of winning that game. But at the end of the day, he’s not the one going out there and swinging the bat.
If you look at the Dodgers’ 0-2 deficit in the NLDS and blame Dave Roberts, you’re blinded by the real issues on this team.
Whether you like him or not, Dave Roberts is the right man for this Dodgers job. And whether they come back to beat Arizona in the NLDS or not, he’ll be with the team come spring training of 2024.
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, live streams, and more!