LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was booed when his name was announced before Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday, the final game at Dodger Stadium in 2018.
Roberts, who doesn’t have a contract beyond this season, has caught flak for a number of his decisions in this series, which the Boston Red Sox lead 3-1.
He was criticized for benching his top four home run hitters — Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Yasmani Grandal — in order to match up against left-handed starters in the first two games at Fenway Park. And he took a lot of heat — even from President Donald Trump — for removing an effective Rich Hill with one on and one out in the seventh inning on Saturday, handing the game to a bullpen that quickly turned a four-run lead into a five-run deficit.
Roberts explained that his decision to remove Hill was based on a sixth-inning conversation during which Hill expressed concern that he might not be able to hold up much longer, despite needing only 82 pitches to record the first 18 outs. Roberts added Sunday that Hill met him “down the slope” of the mound and handed Roberts the baseball before the manager signaled to the bullpen.
After Clayton Kershaw gave up a first-inning two-run home run to Steve Pearce on Sunday, a “Let’s go, Red Sox!” chant broke out at Dodger Stadium. Prior to that, several of the Dodgers fans in attendance voiced their disapproval of Roberts, even though he makes most of his decisions in conjunction with an analytically inclined front office.
“For me, it’s noise, and I really haven’t paid much attention to it,” Roberts said earlier Sunday of the criticism he has faced in recent days. “I’ve had a conversation with our players, which for me today is the most important thing, and which should be every day. And I’m focused on winning today. So, I really don’t have too much bandwidth to kind of really take in all the criticism. But it’s part of it.”
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