Andrew Friedman and Brandon Gomes spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, the press conference was a lot sooner than we would have liked.
Friedman and Gomes spoke on a number of topics, including the Dodgers’ early exit, the status of Dave Roberts moving forward and updates on the futures of a few players.
It was mainly Friedman who answered the hard-hitting questions. Although difficult, he said all the right things.
The No. 1 topic at hand was the Dodgers’ shocking playoff exit. After a historic 2022 campaign, the Dodgers were eliminated by the San Diego Padres in the NLDS. Friedman attributed the series loss to LA’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position.
“In the regular season, we led baseball in every statistical category with runners in scoring position,” he said to reporters. “In this series, we weren’t good.”
During the regular season, the Dodgers were the best when it came to hitting with runners in scoring position. Here’s where LA ranked across baseball.
.272 AVG (1st)
.365 OBP (1st)
.459 SLG (2nd)
130 wRC+ (1st)
.352 wOBA (1st)
Anyone that watched the series could have told you that was the reason the Dodgers lost. During the series, LA went 5-for-34 with runners in scoring position, hitting .147/.262/.235. Oof!
“During the course of the season we had peaks and valleys with runners in scoring position, and this was a valley,” Friedman said. “The question is, is it baseball? Or are there things we can do to improve upon that?
“We went through four-game stretches all year where we were the ’27 Yankees with runners in scoring position. We went through four-game stretches this year where we were on the other end of that.”
As Friedman went on to say, the Dodgers actually had more opportunities with runners in scoring position than the Padres did. LA had 42 chances while San Diego had 38. The crazy part is that San Diego wasn’t great either, they were just slightly better. They hit 206/.263/.265 in those situations, which likely would have been the talking point if the Padres would have lost.
“We had more opportunities than they did,” Friedman said. “They cashed in at a higher efficiency than we did. That’s why they’re playing tonight.
“They played better than we did. That’s not in dispute.”
It still stings. I’ve written about this and talked about it on my podcast, but if the Dodgers just deliver one or two hits with runners on base there’s a strong chance they not only win the series, but there’s a chance they sweep as well. All they needed was one big hit, but it just never came.
Outside of discussing the lack of hitting in big moments, another topic of discussion was the future of manager Dave Roberts. It was reported that he’d return in 2023, but Friedman confirmed that Roberts will be returning next season.
When asked if they considered making a switch at manager, Friedman said that if they felt like a different voice was going to help the team cash in on those situations with runners in scoring position, maybe they would. However, he didn’t feel the series loss was a managerial issue.
“I feel like Dave and his coaching staff did an incredible job during the regular season to lead this team to 111 wins,” Friedman said. “And I don’t feel like it’s a switch that was then turned off or the players needed a different voice in those games. That’s my personal belief. I get that there are differing opinions on this.
“I think it’s human nature to want to point the finger at someone. But I feel like this was an organizational failure in the postseason.”
I agree with Friedman. While many want to point their fingers and blame Roberts, he wasn’t the one at the plate. He wasn’t the one struggling to drive runners in. He did everything he could to put the Dodgers in position to win the series. The players just didn’t show up.
“If you’re asking me if I think the best team wins the World Series every year, I would say no,” Friedman said. “I think the hottest team wins the World Series every year. And so, how to put us in the best position going into October to be the hottest.”