Getting caught up in the day-to-day nature of the long season, sometimes we can get mired in the muck of decision making. Why was this pitching change made? We isn’t so-and-so getting more playing time?
Dan Connolly, the excellent longtime Orioles reporter who was among the recent layoffs at The Athletic, is still covering baseball in Baltimore, and profiled how the Dodgers are staying afloat in a trying season. In a piece for Sportsnaut, Connolly doesn’t miss the forest the trees. He said of manager Dave Roberts, “There’s no question who sets the tone.”
Connolly’s article includes insight from pitching coach Mark Prior and ace reliever Evan Phillips:
“He’s able to maintain that even level of energy and excitement, and he brings it every single day. And that’s hard to do,” Prior said about Roberts. “Whether you’re coaching or playing, it’s really hard to bring it every single day, and I think that’s what allows us, behind him, to help support what our guys want to do. Because ultimately, that’s our job. To go out and help support these guys play the best they can.”
Perennial Gold Glove outfielder Mookie Betts making the transition to second base (and occasionally shortstop) so smoothly has been one of the most remarkable feats of 2023. Stephanie Apstein at Sports Illustrated wrote about Betts finding joy at a position he’s always wanted (and used) to play:
“I’m a natural-born infielder,” he says. “I got moved to the outfield. I didn’t play my way into the outfield. You can argue that I’m proving other people wrong, but it’s really just proving myself [right]. I’ve been saying I can do it.”
Chris Taylor’s workload will be managed after returning from missing almost four weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee. From Roberts, per Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic: “It’s not something that we can really bank on. I don’t think anyone can bank on his health the rest of the season. So just being mindful of that — I know our guys are.”
In his latest notes column, Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic adds to the chorus in identifying the Dodgers needs at the trade deadline: “One and possibly two starting pitchers, a leverage reliever and perhaps a right-handed hitter as well.” Seems right to me.