Roberts preaches patience amid Dodgers' struggles

May 1st, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts' words after the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to the Padres on Saturday night echoed what he had been saying all week. The Dodgers will not panic. They will not get angry. They will keep doing what they are doing, because they know it will eventually work. And he finished by saying he knows the players in the clubhouse thought the same thing.

Thirty seconds later, he was proven right.

As the clubhouse opened, a small whiteboard carried a message from Adrian Gonzalez, acknowledging that the team wasn't hitting, that they had lost six in a row. But it also noted they were still in first place and their current perspective: "Win Tomorrow!"

That's really all the Dodgers can say as they continue a homestand in which they've lost all six games and haven't recorded more than three runs in a single game. The story has been familiar: Get a run here or there early, lose the lead later, then have a comeback fall short or never materialize.

"It's six days and it's the same questions and the same deal," Roberts said. "I know the position players feel the same way. Everyday you come in fresh and you work. You're optimistic, and next thing you know, you're 0-for-4. I've been in those shoes. I've done it."

The team's 12-13 April record is its first losing record in a month since 2013, and its six-game home losing streak is its first since 2011. Players have registered five multi-hit games during the homestand, one fewer than they produced on Opening Day.

The plan to turn things around at the plate hasn't changed for Roberts. He's going to use the same lineups and he's not going to turn up the pressure. He sees no magic solutions, just patience.

"In baseball, you just can't beat someone over the head," Roberts said. "You can't yell at them. As a hitter, you can't get more mad and do better. That doesn't equate to being better. It actually works against you. For us, you're talking about team consistency and that's what guys are doing. There's no panic on my part, and I'm certain that the clubhouse is the same."

While the team tries to find itself at the plate, it can take solace in two things:

1. As Gonzalez noted, the team remains in first place in the National League West. Even though it's a three-way tie with the Giants and Rockies.

2. The team has lost six games in a row before, and it turned out OK. Six games is the team's longest losing streak since May 2013. A month after that losing streak, they went on a 42-9 run and won the division.

"I think if you had asked any one of us before the season started if we'd be happy in first place with record notwithstanding, I think we'd all sign up for that," Roberts said. "We used to talk about our goal to win the division. That's our goal and we still have an opportunity to do that. It's going to turn. I'm not going to put too much weight into six days of not hitting."