Dave Roberts, whose speed helped the Red Sox to their first World Series title since 1918, is trying to use his wits and managerial know-how to help the Dodgers to their first World Series title since 1988.
Time will tell if that happens, but Roberts has done a pretty good job thus far, as the Dodgers (32-28) have won four of five and are just three games back of the Giants (35-25) in the NL West.
“I think that every day I’m grateful for this opportunity the Dodgers have given me,” Roberts said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I’ve always been a Dodgers fan, I’m from Southern California, I played for the Dodgers – just the opportunity to build relationships with coaches and players, I’m really enjoying that.”
Especially the opportunity to build a relationship with Clayton Kershaw, who is 8-1 with a 1.46 ERA and 0.65 WHIP – not to mention a ridiculous 109 strikeouts and just six walks.
Kershaw has had a sub-2.00 ERA in three of the last four seasons. He “struggled” last year with a 16-7 record and 2.13 ERA but is now a favorite to win his fourth Cy Young.
“I fixed him,” Roberts joked, laughing. “Obviously he’s a tremendous athlete and tremendous competitor, but to see him on the day-to-day is really special. I don’t know where we’d be without him. The days that he pitches, those are must-win games. There’s many games where he’s just really carried us. That’s what superstars do.”
Kershaw was named NL MVP in 2014. Many people, including Gottlieb and Roberts, feel positional players should win MVPs, but Kershaw was just that special in 2014, going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 239 strikeouts.
Since the start of the 2014 season, Kershaw has 649 strikeouts in 523 and 2/3 innings.
“I’ve always been of the mind it’s a positional player that should be the MVP,” Roberts said, “but when I look at what he does for our ball club, there’s no doubt that he’s our most valuable player. Even when things aren’t going well and you lose three or four in a row and then he takes the mound and can stop a losing streak and get you going and just the confidence he instills in our group raises the level of our play. It’s all relative to every team, but what he does for us, it’s pretty special.”