The Los Angeles Dodgers perhaps more so than any team in baseball factor in the long-term view and goal when making decisions on a nightly basis. Manager Dave Roberts had a rotation to rest position players leading up to the series with the San Diego Padres, and managed bullpen usage.
Those best efforts were all the more pivotal when the Dodgers and Padres played 12 innings on Friday. Alex Vesia was recalled Saturday, but he did not appear in the game. Vesia then was optioned as a corresponding move to Brusdar Graterol coming off the 10-day injured list Sunday.
Graterol made his 2021 debut in the seventh inning to face the the heart of Padres’ lineup. He gave up a leadoff single to Manny Machado, was the victim of a passed ball and later allowed a game-tying RBI single to Eric Hosmer. Graterol was removed after retiring just two of five batters faced.
“I thought the stuff was coming out good. Obviously you look at the velocity, there were some good sliders in there,” Roberts said. “You just don’t know what to expect. It was his first time since October being out there, I know he was amped up. It was just good to get him back.
“He left a fastball up to Hosmer, and I think the base hit to Manny was middle-middle. It’s going to happen. It was his first outing. He’ll be down [Monday], but he’ll be fine.”
With the game still tied in the eighth inning, Roberts went to Dennis Santana. Corey Seager’s throwing error on a routine ground ball allowed the leadoff man to reach and sparked a three-run inning for San Diego.
“There’s other guys we were going to stay away from. Obviously every game is important, but the health of our relievers is more important,” Roberts explained.
“To get guys back on line, to keep them fresh, where we’re at in the calendar, and I trust Dennis. I felt he could get us out of that inning. They got a base hit to go ahead, but I felt good with him there.”
Roberts had previously ruled out David Price pitching in the series finale as he recovered from going back-to-back games for the first time this season. He also acknowledged Corey Knebel and Blake Treinen were among those he alluded to being unavailable Sunday.
Roberts: Dodgers don’t need Padres for motivation
In similar fashion to last year, the Padres are viewed as the Dodgers’ biggest threat to continue their reign over the National League West. San Diego took a step forward this year after bolstering their roster with Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, among other additions.
While having a formidable threat like the Padres could help keep the Dodgers sharp, Roberts doesn’t view their presence as a necessity. “We don’t look outward for an edge,” he said.
“I think we’re really good about focusing on how we play and the brand of baseball we play. There’s certainly more series or teams that are going to be more magnified, but we’ve done pretty well the last five years when the Padres weren’t as good as they are.
“I think we’re going to keep doing the same things we’ve been doing.”
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