Several Los Angeles Dodgers express frustration with their playing time
As clubs employ a greater number of platoons, players sometimes grow frustrated with a lack of regular playing time.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged Friday that several players have conveyed such frustration to him as the team continues its march to the NL West title.
“You would expect that — you have so many good players that can make a case to play more,” Roberts said. “Everyone wants to play. I don’t fault that. But I can’t make everyone happy. I’ve got to do what I see is best for us to win a game that night.”
The Dodgers, who entered Friday’s play leading the Giants by six games, play first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Justin Turner nearly every day, but mix and match at every other position.
Gonzalez, Seager and Turner each entered Friday with 500 or more at-bats. Second baseman Chase Utley was at 492 and infielder-outfielder Howie Kendrick at 459. No other player had more than 400.
The Cubs, who also use multiple players at different positions, had a similar distribution of at-bats. Third baseman Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right fielder Jason Heyward each had more than 500, while second baseman Ben Zobrist was at 499, shortstop Addison Russell at 498 and center fielder Dexter Fowler at 431.
The difference, perhaps, is that Cubs manager Joe Maddon is known for managing his roster creatively, going back to his days with the Rays. Roberts, on the other hand, is in his first season as a manager.
The Dodgers players, Roberts said, have an “understanding of where we’re at” even as they lobby for more playing time.
“I can hear guys and listen,” Roberts said. “But it doesn’t mean I’ll do anything different. I’ll still do what is best for our club. There is nothing else I can say.
“I’m not here to make individual players happy. My job is to help us win baseball games. Everything I’ve done this year – and there have been some controversial things – have been in the spirit of what is best for the team.
“I can live with that.”