When the Los Angeles Dodgers hired Dave Roberts as manager prior to the 2016 season, he vowed to lead a team that would be blue-collar with their approach on a daily basis. That mindset, coupled with the Dodgers’ talent, has been a recipe for success.
Roberts earned National League Manager of the Year honors as a rookie, has overseen a stretch of the club’s consecutive NL West titles, and guided the Dodgers to back-to-back appearances in the World Series.
This season closely mirrors that of 2017 for the Dodgers, when they boat-raced the division and finished with the best record in baseball. For all the flash surrounding the team, it can be overlooked how diligently the Dodgers approach each game.
It was that aspect Roberts highlighted after the Dodgers completed an 18-2 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“The at-bats, grinding, finishing at-bats, taking walks, it was really fun to watch. A team that’s playing like we’re playing, to see Cody leg out an infield single when you’re up 14 runs against a position player (pitching), that stuff for me epitomizes our club. And Matt Beaty going for a foul ball, sliding into the dugout. Those are things that I think are just really special.”
Cody Bellinger’s infield single Roberts mentioned came in the ninth inning, when the Dodgers were leading 14-2. Bellinger’s speed and hustle led to the second of the final two runs L.A. scored in the frame.
The hit was Bellinger’s fourth of the game and came after he’d already surpassed Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich for the MLB lead in home runs. Bellinger hit a pair of solo shots to run his season total to 33. The multi-home run game was Bellinger’s 11th of his career and fourth this year.
Like Bellinger, Matt Beaty took nothing for granted. He gave chase to a pop-up in foul territory when the game was already well in hand. Beaty slid into the dugout fencing and immediately popped to his feet despite the collision.
Beaty was in his first game back with the Dodgers, taking the place of Chris Taylor after he was put on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left forearm.
Just as much as Roberts deserves credit for the culture he has instilled in the clubhouse, so too do the players, particularly veterans, for standing behind their manager and carrying it out on a daily basis.