Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB Postseason

Dodgers have to fire Dave Roberts after latest postseason choke job

The Dodgers collapsed in Game 5 vs. the Nationals and manager Dave Roberts will be the fall guy for another season without a World Series.

Expectations are clear for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts: World Series or bust.

Following the Dodgers latest postseason meltdown, Roberts will have to wear it as the manager who made one misstep after another in another crucial playoff game that saw the Dodgers choke on the biggest stage.

The Dodgers were cruising behind Walker Buehler with a 3-1 lead with two outs in the seventh. Game 5 was going according to plan. Roberts elected to go with Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen to face the left-handed-hitting Adam Eaton who struck out on three pitches.

That was the last good feeling for Dodgers fans on a night when dreams of advancing to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the NCLS turned to a nightmare when Kershaw returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth.

Kershaw returned despite Kenta Maeda ready to start a clean inning. Roberts already got a big out from Kershaw who has a career 4.33 playoff ERA.

Roberts tempted fate with a pitcher who is the best of his generation in the regular season but a liability in the postseason. Throw in the fact he’s not a reliever and Roberts compounded his error by playing with fire. It bit him as Kershaw brought a gas can to the mound and gave up back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto.

Suddenly, the game was tied. Dodger Stadium was quiter than a school library in the summer.

All the momentum the Dodgers had with Buehler’s dominant start and Kershaw closing the seventh was gone. Roberts should have known better.

He didn’t.

Roberts made another mistake turning to Joe Kelly for the ninth instead of turning the ball over to his closer Kenley Jansen. You don’t want to get burned by having your best reliever sitting in the pen.

That’s exactly what happened.

Kelly got the game to extra innings with the game still tied but quickly loaded the bases and served up a 410-foot grand slam to Howie Kendrick.

Then Jansen came in but it was too late.

The game was over. The series was over. Kershaw shoulders the weight of blowing the lead. And all of it could cost Roberts his job as the Dodgers manager.

Roberts managed the Dodgers to 106 wins in the regular season. That is now the most wins by a team to lose this early in the playoffs. It allowed the Nationals, who had been victimized by playoff miscues and bad luck, were able to get to the NLCS for the first time since they were the Montreal Expos.

The Dodgers have won more games than any baseball team over the last four seasons. All of those wins have resulted in four postseason exits more painful and inexcusable after the next.

Roberts has to take the blame for the postseason failures. This is what happens in sports when you are expected to win championships and you consistently prove you aren’t capable of getting that done.

It was a good run for Roberts in L.A. but it should be coming to an end after another premature ending for the Dodgers in the playoffs. If the Dodgers don’t fire Roberts, prepare to see another rerun next October.

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