Dave Roberts: Dodgers Must Improve Defense In Second Half

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the All-Star break with a 56-35 record and have a 99.5% chance of reaching the postseason and 16.9% odds of winning the World Series, which are both the best percentages in baseball, according to FanGraphs.

Despite their success, the Dodgers have not performed as well as expected and have something major they need to clean up, according to manager Dave Roberts.

“I think good, not great. I think every team’s gone through some things, we as well. I think the hitting at times has been really good, at times been not good, so that’s been sort of inconsistent,” Roberts said about the first half of the season.

“I think the thing that we need to get better at and clean up is the defense. That’s probably the most glaring — infield defense in particular. The pitching has been really good for us. The starters and guys in the ‘pen have done a fantastic job.”

The Dodgers’ defense ranks 25th in outs above average with -13 and 24th in runs prevented with -10, per Baseball Savant. By ultimate zone rating, the Dodgers rank 28th with a rating of -13.9. By standard metrics, they have made 57 errors, which is the seventh-most in baseball.

It’s clear the Dodgers need to improve on defense, but there isn’t an obvious fix.

“I don’t know. We have good players,” Roberts said. “You just can’t give other teams extra outs. It forces our guys to throw more pitches. It’s not about the talent. We have the talent, we’ve just got to play better.”

While they still have the second-most wins in baseball, one less than the division-rival San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers expect to finish the year at the top of the standings.

“A lot of great players, great character guys, and relentless. We’re relentless,” Roberts said of his team’s record despite areas needing improvement.

“There’s always going to be distractions, you’re not always going to play well, but we play with a purpose, which I love. I think it shows that as far as having the second-most wins in baseball. But that’s not our goal. We got through this first half and I expect us to be at the top when we finish this thing this year.”

Muncy evaluates Dodgers’ first half

Max Muncy, who recently said the Dodgers were starting to click, was a little more optimistic than his manager when evaluating the first half of the season.

“Considering all we’ve been through, I’d say pretty good,” Muncy said.

“I don’t know how many injuries we’ve had — 20, 30, or whatever the number is — the fact that we’re playing really good baseball, we have a really good record right now, I’d say we’ve done a good job.

“Obviously, we can do a lot better and have a lot of potential. We haven’t played anywhere near the caliber that we are capable of playing, but I’d still say we’ve done a good job just based on the number of injuries we’ve had.”

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