Doc Rivers reacts to Clayton Kershaw’s struggles, Dave Roberts’ decisions, and Dodgers loss
LOS ANGELES – Just days after manager Dave Roberts, pitcher Clayton Kershaw, and the Los Angeles Dodgers blew Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has spoken out.
With the Dodgers clinging to a 3-1 lead to start the 8th inning of Wednesday night’s winner-take-all Game 5, Roberts left Kershaw on the mound. Within three pitches, the Nationals dinged a pair of runs to knot the game up at 3-3, a game win which the Dodgers would go on to lose 7-3 in the 10th inning. A franchise record 106 wins flushed down the drain by a surprising Nationals team that had to win a NL Wild Card game just to have a chance to face the heavily-favored powerhouse in L.A.
This wasn’t the first time Kershaw had blown a game for the Dodgers nor was it the first time an ill-timed decision by Roberts cost the Dodgers a game either.
Before Thursday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Rivers closed his pregame interview with his take on the Dodgers situation. He began by addressing another disappointing postseason for Kershaw.
“That baseball game… From a coach’s standpoint and a player’s standpoint, I don’t think I’ve felt worse for one single guy than [Clayton] Kershaw,” said Rivers. “I really like him. And I’m sorry for you guys who’ve already jumped the bandwagon, but that was awful to see because he’s one of the greatest pitchers — he really is — of all time. And to see that, man, I tell you, that’s when you really appreciate some of these guys. They put it on the line, they know the risk, they know it can go bad and when it does, it does, and that reminded me of it again, so man…
Rivers then went to add that he’s a Chicago White Sox fan before a member of the media, presumable a big Dodgers fan, cut him off to say, ” you can have him.” Rivers responded with a smile and said, “I’d take him! I was cheering for them man, it was really a tough one.”
As for Roberts, Rivers defended the 2016 NL Manager of the Year, saying that as a coach, sometimes you’re put in tough positions where you have to make decisions that go completely against the stats and the books because of your gut and experience.
“You live with it, you just do,” Rivers said on how Roberts moves on. “I’ve made some great decisions against the book and I’ve made some poor ones, because they didn’t work. That’s the part of being a coach, if you just went by the book every time, anyone could do it, really.”
Rivers then interjected with his own experience going with his gut and against the books, citing a moment nearly a decade ago where he made the decision to get a struggling Ray Allen the final shot in a game as opposed to a red-hot Paul Pierce.
“I’ve gone into games with a thought and statistically told me to do something and I’ve gone the other way, so many game plays that we’ve run that’ve been successful that go against the grain and then … Ray hit a game winner and he had to be 1 for whatever and Paul was pretty much on fire, and I draw the play up for Ray, I couldn’t tell you why I did it, it made no sense.
“After the game, when you watch game, and I’m sitting there watching the game, and I think what was I thinking about and Ray made the shot, so… we’re smart, you know what I mean? If he would’ve missed the shot, oh man… And in Boston? At the end of the day, you just live with it and sometimes, you’ve got to sometimes just do that. That’s part of it.”
The Dodgers as well as their fans will certainly feel the sting of this postseason loss, especially considering their high expectations and hopes for a deep run into the World Series. With the Dodgers eliminated, the Rams, Chargers, Clippers, and Lakers officially take over as the top sports shows in Los Angeles for the remainder of 2019.