2023 NLDS: Dodgers Feel ‘More Equipped To Manage’ Diamondbacks’ Stolen Bases

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to play the Arizona Diamondbacks for just the second time in postseason history, with the National League Division Series beginning Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers won eight of 13 head-to-head meetings against the Diamondbacks during the regular season, including the last five in August, and outscored them 72-47.

Key to the Dodgers’ late-season success against the Diamondbacks was stopping their run game. Arizona, who finished second in all of baseball with 166 stolen bases this season, swiped just two bags in their final five matchups against L.A.

The Dodgers allowed 12 stolen bases in their first eight games against the Diamondbacks. “I just think we became much more equipped to manage it,” manager Dave Roberts said of the team’s turnaround.

“You can look at the first couple series against those guys versus the last couple series as far as how we did a nice job managing or controlling their running game. But obviously that’s part of who they are.

“So the most important step is to keep guys off base and get the first hitter out of an inning. But outside of that, you’ve got to vary your looks and understand what they’re going to try to create run-scoring opportunities and just manage it the best you can.”

Roberts believes the Dodgers naturally improved with limiting their opponents’ run game after they began to better understand the new rule changes that were implemented this year.

“Once the new rules were instituted, there was talk in Spring Training, but I just didn’t appreciate how aggressive some teams were going to be,” Roberts began. “So we had to really get up to speed on how we vary looks and speed up times to home plate, being mindful of getting that first hitter out every inning, getting better at our pick plays.

“And not to point one person out, but Noah wasn’t great at holding runners, so I think a lot of that damage was taken on by him. That’s part of it, but as a group, collectively we’ve just gotten better.”

Dave Roberts pleased with Dodgers catchers

Although they took some blame, Roberts stopped short of placing the blame of the Dodgers’ early struggles with stopping the run on Will Smith and Austin Barnes.

“To be quite honest, I thought Will has thrown the baseball really well all year long,” Roberts said. “There were many times where our catchers just didn’t have a chance. So the onus was more on the pitchers to get better at managing the running game.

“Also, with the infielders, and specifically the middle infielders to call pickoffs, daylight picks and plays, trying to keep those guys at least somewhat at bay when they’re on second base.”

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