Dodgers Analyst Feels LA Players, Not Manager, Are to Blame for NLDS Loss

SNLA analyst Jerry Hairston Jr. correctly notes that playoff series are determined by the execution of the players far more than by managerial decisions.

For the first three games of the NLDS between the Dodgers and the Padres, it looked pretty clear that if Los Angeles lost the series, the blame would be placed on the offense, specifically for going 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position at one stretch.

Some of that went out the window in Game 4, when a couple questionable decisions by manager Dave Roberts reignited all the old feelings of Doc-haters throughout Dodgerland. Between pulling Tyler Anderson after five innings and then a series of pitching decisions in the seventh inning, the 0-for-20 with RISP was memory-holed as everyone grabbed their torches and pitchforks and went after Roberts.

As analyst Jerry Hairston Jr. rightly noted on SNLA’s Access: SportsNet on Tuesday, though, the lack of offensive execution is why L.A. lost the series.

I think it’s unfair [to blame Roberts]. As a player, you put the onus on yourself and guess what, the players have put it on themselves. It’s about execution. You have to be able to perform as a player. …

They didn’t execute with a runner on third base with less than two outs quite a few times. They didn’t hit with runners in score position. And again, it’s on the players. Trust me, it hurt as a player and the guys are hurting. And you know what you ask as a player, ‘Will we ever forget this?’ You’re never gonna forget it. …

But what you can do is make sure that this feeling, if you have this opportunity again, this doesn’t happen again because it is gut wrenching.

Managerial decisions are only as good as the players’ execution. “Bad” decisions can look good if the players come through, and “good” decisions look bad if they don’t. When Phillies manager Rob Thomson pulled Ranger Suarez after five innings in Game 4 of the NLCS, it was “aggressive,” he was “going for it” with a “bleep tomorrow, win today” mentality. When Roberts pulled Anderson after five innings, he was once again the worst manager in the history of the world. The difference? Execution.

If the Dodgers had gone 4-for-20 with RISP instead of 0-for-20, they would have swept the Padres. If they’d gone 7-for-20, it likely would have been three games that weren’t extremely close.

Players have to execute, and the Dodgers didn’t.

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