Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has had to make a lot of tough decisions since taking the reins in the 2016 season.
He has been the subject of criticism and praise for his moves, specifically in the postseason, but there is one situation that Roberts has seemingly been in more than any other manager: deciding whether or not to remove a pitcher during a no-hitter or perfect game.
“Well, I think it’s a narrative that obviously gained a lot of traction,” Roberts recently said.
The situation has come up multiple times in Roberts’ managerial career and he has elected to remove the pitcher each time.
Ross Stripling, who was making his MLB debut in 2016, two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery, pitched 7.1 innings of no-hit ball against the San Francisco Giants. With a pitch count at 100, Roberts, in just his fifth game as the Dodgers skipper, elected to remove Stripling because his velocity was down and he was on a strict pitch count.
While Stripling said it was the right decision after the game, Roberts was highly criticized for the decision.
“You got a guy that never had gone into the seventh inning, coming off Tommy John, making his first start, never threw more than 86 pitches,” Roberts reiterated.
Later in that same season, Rich Hill threw seven perfect innings against the Miami Marlins on 89 pitches before Roberts had to make a decision. Hill was battling a blister that season and the issue started to come back up in the game.
With advice from then-pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and the training staff, Roberts made a decision that left him sick to his stomach to remove Hill.
“There’s another guy with a blister, there’s blood on the baseball,” Roberts said.
In 2018, Walker Buehler had a no-hitter going through six innings against the San Diego Padres in the opener of the Mexico Series. Buehler was making just his third start and he was on an innings limit for the season, so Roberts called it an easy decision to remove him after 93 pitches.
The Dodgers did end up getting their first and only combined no-hitter in franchise history.
Despite the situations being similar, Roberts continued to push back against the criticism and defended his decisions from each game.
“I just don’t think they’re all the same,” Roberts said.
Roberts was going to stick with Buehler
The situation with Buehler came close again as he flirted with a no-no against the Arizona Diamondbacks last weekend.
Buehler was through seven no-hit innings on 99 pitches. Roberts said he would have been willing to let Buehler throw around 125 pitches, despite never throwing more than 117 in a game.
However, Roberts wasn’t forced to make another tough decision as David Peralta broke up the no-hitter in the eighth inning.
“Where he was at, the stress of innings, it just made sense. If it would’ve went through the eighth inning we would’ve kind of read and reacted at that point,” Roberts said.
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