Dave Roberts: Dodgers ‘Working Through’ Failed Challenges

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has not had much success this season when challenging an umpire’s call through MLB’s replay review system.

Roberts has challenged 21 calls, but so far, only seven have been overturned. His 33.3% success rate ranks 30th out of the 32 managers who have requested a play to be looked at.

“I’m hoping it starts to even out,” Roberts recently said. “We just have been on the short end a lot. We’re working through it.”

The MLB average success rate on challenges is 48%, and the most successful manager, Buck Showalter of the New York Mets, has had a call overturned 76.2% of the time with the same amount of attempts as Roberts.

Despite the Dodgers’ lack of success, Roberts said the team hasn’t changed their process from previous seasons. One difference, however, is MLB’s rule requiring a manager to make a decision within 20 seconds rather than 25.

Over the past five seasons, Roberts has had some success with the challenge-replay system, posting overturn rates of 54.5%, 57.9%, 55.9%, 46.25%, and an NL-best 63.9% in 2017.

“No,” Roberts answered when asked if the Dodgers are missing anything in their process to determine if they should challenge a call.

“We’re still talking through it but ultimately I make the decision to challenge or not challenge. I haven’t been very good. I’ll continue to work through it.”

Roberts added he does listen to players if they are challenging a hit-by-pitch call because they’re generally correct on those, but for safe and out calls or tags, he doesn’t put much stock into what the players are saying.

In 2021, the Dodgers only challenged 22 calls all season, but Roberts is close to breaking that mark this year with more than half a season left to play. Although they are challenging calls at a much higher rate than previously, Roberts isn’t doing it intentionally.

“I think it’s just more the game situation,” Roberts noted. “When you’re talking about the fifth or the sixth inning, you have a free one coming in in the eighth. That’s more of you’re trying to push the envelope a little bit. You don’t feel like there’s much cost.

“There’s been a couple I’ve challenged to potentially get one of our guys a hit. I think that I would want a manager to do that for me. And other ones we just haven’t fared well.”

Roberts highlights issues with MLB challenge system

Roberts also feels, when looking back on some of his decisions, that they were correct, but MLB decided to uphold the calls anyways.

“I just think the replays we’ve got, early in the game there were a couple plays at third base, we felt it was clear that our guy was safe or out,” Roberts said. “And it was upheld.

“I don’t know if it’s a Major League Baseball thing or it’s a Dodger thing. All I know is that our process, when our guys see something, they’re going to give me their thoughts and I’ll make a decision.”

Part of that could be due to the camera angles the league and Dodgers have. In national games, there are more angles available for the umpires and team to use, but in local games, the replays are more limited.

“That kind of explains a little bit, where the guys in New York can’t make an overturn because they’re not getting all the angles,” Roberts said.

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