Boomer Esiason: Blame Dave Roberts For Dodgers Loss

Boomer and Gio
October 10, 2019 - 10:04 am

Manager Dave Roberts deserves as much of the blame for the Dodgers' surprising NL Division Series exit as does Clayton Kershaw, WFAN's Boomer Esiason said Thursday morning.

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Kershaw's legacy as a postseason choke artist grew Wednesday night, as he allowed back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning that led to the Nationals ousting Los Angeles. 

Kershaw entered Game 5 with two outs and two runners on base in the seventh inning and then struck out Adam Eaton on three pitches. 

The three-time Cy Young Award winner returned in the eighth and gave up homers to the first two batters he faced — Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto — that tied the game at 3-3 before being pulled. Washington went on to win the game 7-3 in 10 innings after Howie Kendrick hit a grand slam off Joe Kelly.

"There's something that happens to the Dodgers in the playoffs with their bullpen and the way that Dave Roberts manages them," Esiason said on the "Boomer and Gio" show. "That just never works out. Getting the one out for Clayton Kershaw wasn't good enough. We have to put him back out there to see if he can get us three more outs. And then putting Joe Kelly out there after he gets a one-two-three inning again — I think it was maybe the eighth or ninth time he's going for extended work out of 55 appearances this year. It's mind-numbing. It's mind-numbing that they stay away from Kenley Jansen. They don't want to put him out there. They don't trust him. But he's their closer. 

"There's a lot of things that can go on here, but when things go wrong and things blow up in your face the way that they have for the Dodgers over the last few years, it comes back to the manager and his decision-making."

Kershaw, who is 9-11 with a 4.43 ERA in his postseason career, was credited with a blown save. He also lost Game 2 after allowing three runs over six innings in a 4-2 defeat.

Dave Roberts
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Images

"I don't like when people say, 'I feel bad for this guy, I feel bad for that guy,'" said Gregg Giannotti, Esiason's co-host. "But this one 'cause of the way that he handled it in the postgame and he goes, 'Everything that they say about me in the postseason is true.' I just felt awful for him.

"This guy's had an unbelievable career," Gio added. "He's been one of the best pitchers of his generation, and this is what he's going to be remembered for. This is it. And just to be that good and then this be that large of a stain on his resume, it's just a tough thing to deal with."

Boomer questioned the practice of using starters in relief appearance in the postseason.

"It's not for everybody," he said. "It's just a weird kind of situation. And I always think, like, you play all year long with a certain group of guys and then you come to the money spot in a game that means everything to move on and then all of a sudden, you're changing the way you're doing things. Is it right?"

Giannotti defended the popular strategy. 

"In the regular season, you're thinking we've got so many games to play, we've got to set ourselves up for the postseason," he said. "And in a game like this, you don't know if you're going to survive so you've got to use every weapon available."

"You're bringing in a guy who already has a history of failure in the playoffs," Esiason responded. "And you're bringing him in a spot where you thinking, 'OK, he should be able to get through this.' He gets through the first batter. I would've said: 'That's it. Enough.'"

To listen to the full open, in which the guys also discuss the Cardinals' 13-1 over the Braves, click on the audio player above.