Dave Doc Roberts brings the Duck out of retirement
I really thought the Duck was going to stay retired, after all hardly anything has happened in the last three years that got his wings in a flutter. Yet, here I find myself writing a Duck Talk article because Dave Doc Roberts needs to answer some questions.
For those unfamiliar with the Duck, you can check out the archived Duck Talk Section at TrueBlueLA. We ask the questions we want to ask and try to see through the clichéd responses we normally get. Don’t get confused, this is a complete fabrication based on interviews within my troubled mind.
As usual the Dodger PR Folk are very kind in getting these interviews lined up.
Duck: Hi Dave, thanks for doing this interview, I know your busy trying to figure out how to get Howie into the lineup, but this should only take a few a minutes.
Doc Roberts: No one told me during the manager interviews I had to agree to be interviewed by a duck, but here I am
Duck: Well, not like I want to be here either. I’d rather be enjoying a Dodger team in 1st place, not one fighting for a play in-game by June. We are here because you’re a rookie manager, and to be honest you made some perplexing moves, that I hope to find out the thinking behind.
Doc Roberts: Great, a second guessing fowl. Fine quack away.
Duck: OK, let’s start by talking about Howie Kendrick and your affinity for him. Howie helped the team out, back in April by playing some LF when the team found itself without Andre or SVS. As expected Howie was merely a fill in LF, starting five games in left field in April, and overall only seven games in LF until May 24th. For some reason on May 24th you decided that Howie was going to be your everyday left fielder and has started 12 games in LF since that point. Why is that?
Doc Roberts: We needed someone to play LF, and I felt that Howie was the player who gave us the best opportunity to win?
Duck: Yes, but why? He’s a lifetime infielder playing left field, and his defense looks exactly like a life time infielder playing left field.
Doc Roberts: Yes, but Howie can hit, and at that time Kiké Hernández couldn’t hit a lick so I felt I needed some offense in LF.
Duck: OK, but on May 24th Howie had an OPS of .587, and in the twelve starts that Howie got in left field since May 24th he garnered a .176 BA in 34 at bats with a total of two extra base hits. So not only did you put out a sub par defensive left fielder on a regular basis but he hit like a bad hitting pitcher in a premium offensive position.
Doc Roberts: Hind site is easy.
Duck: You weren’t happy with Kiké Hernández playing left field. I can kind of understand that. Yet on June 3rd, Scott Van Slyke came off the disabled list and you continued to use Howie in left field. Scott Van Slyke can play defense and hit a bit but even with the huge hole in left field, you basically used Scotty as a pinch hitter.
Doc Roberts: Come on, Scotty can’t hit right hand pitching. Are you suggesting that I should have been using Scotty against right hand pitching instead of Howie?
Duck: No one will argue Scotty can’t hit right hand pitching as well as left hand pitching, but given that Howie didn’t hit a lick while playing bad left field defense, I’m not sure that argument holds up. I’m pretty sure that Scotty as a left fielder would out hit Howie the infielder if given the same number of at bats while providing above average defense. You do know that Scotty is an above average defensive outfielder, right? I’m sure your front office has pointed that out, or does the front office have different defensive metrics not available to the public that say something different? Either way, the few times you did play Scotty, did you notice how he didn’t shy from the fence and handled those ball like a professional left fielder? while Howie plays the wall like a life time infielder playing left field. Maybe defense doesn’t matter as much with you or the front office that we would have expected, but I’d think the combination of bad defense and bad offense would entice you to use the alernative options that exist on your bench.
Doc Roberts: Howie was the best I had and that is what I went with. Which is why the front office acquired my old friend Will Venable to play the outfield against right hand pitching.
Duck: Oh Right, Will Venable. He’s the answer. The team surely needed a left-handed bat, and they went out and got the best one available. Dodger fans are sure that the fact no one else in baseball wanted to give him a major league contract means nothing. His AAA stats this year would have gotten him released from any club if he didn’t have his prior major league pedigree to hang his hat on. Luckily for Will, he found a club that was familair with his good work in San Diego in years gone by.
Doc Roberts: Puig will be back soon, and we won’t need to worry about Howie playing left field anymore. This is old news, is this all you got?
Duck: Yeah, pretty much. The only other thing left is this annoying thing you did when you pinch ran the franchise the other night in the ninth inning, as the tying run on 2nd base. Was your stomach doing flips when you realized what you had done?
Doc Roberts: I had no other options, to score that run, Clayton was my best option on the bench.
Duck: I’m going to somewhat politely disagree with this statement. At no point should Clayton Kershaw ever be put in that position with a regular season game at stake in June. You best option if your only option is Clayton is to let AJ Ellis stay at 2nd base.
Doc Roberts: Bullshit, Clayton is a ball player, just because he’s pinch running at second doesn’t mean he’s going to get hurt. We had a game to win, and he gave us the best chance to tie the score and force extra innings.
Duck: At no point in Clayton’s long storied career has he ever been asked to be a pinch runner in the 9th inning at 2nd base (he did pinch run once in the 8th inning at 1st base). You basically made this call, knowing that if a single was hit to the outfield that AJ Ellis could not score on, you were counting on competitive Clayton to run balls out from 2nd, hit 3rd as fast as he’s ever hit 3rd, and more than likely slide into home to score that run. Now 99 times out of 100 all might go well, but honestly Dave, if Clayton hits 3rd wrong, slides wrong into home, pulls a muscle running balls out after being in the dugout the whole game, you’d be wearing that the rest of your short-lived managerial career. Because Clayton is the Franchise, and he’s only the franchise if he takes the ball at least 32 times in 2016. But luckily for you, a strike out ended the game, and we never got to see Clayton scamper home to tie a game you already had few options left to win in extra innings anyway. Cy Young award winners are pinch run for, not used as pinch runners. Isn’t that Baseball Managing 101? Like the 1st paragraph?
Doc Roberts: I never read that book and I stand by my decision. A manager has to make choices with his gut, not be all practical or a robot could do it.
Duck: Well good luck, I know being a rookie manager has growing pains, and this year has been trying what with all the injuries, trying to navigate a 19 year prodigy in the rotation, poor offensive showing by anyone over 25. Hey I bet your happy that all those folk who told you to bench Justin Turner are going to have to find something else to bitch about, like why is Adrian Gonzalez still batting clean up when he has as much power these days as Marwin Gonzalez