Roberts giving scuffling Baez a couple days off

September 20th, 2017
Pedro Baez allowed four runs on two hits and two walks over two-thirds of an inning Tuesday, taking the loss. (AP)

PHILADELPHIA -- critics should note that the right-hander not only won't be pitching the remaining two games of the current series against the Phillies, but he also won't even be in the Dodgers' bullpen.

"Probably give Petey the next couple or three days off," manager Dave Roberts said of his slumping setup reliever. "I asked Petey to sit with me in the dugout. He's going to hang out with me and we'll talk about things, just to get him away from the 'pen, get his mind off things. He said he feels good, wants to pitch tonight. I appreciate that, but I do think it's best for him to have the turfs [shoes] on and watch the game from the dugout."

Roberts said the break wasn't a punishment for the three-run double Baez allowed in Tuesday night's 6-2 loss or his 20.77 ERA in seven September games.

"Absolutely not," Roberts insisted. "I certainly expect Petey to take these few days and respond the way we hope."

The postseason roster is no longer a certainty for Baez, who has been a fixture during the last four Octobers. The setup job will probably default to , backed up by Josh Fields. The Dodgers are likely to use early and often -- meaning the eighth inning, not just the ninth -- as he thrived in multiple-inning outings last postseason.

Roberts said he's comfortable with his right-handed setup men and that recent measured usage of Morrow and Fields is meant to freshen them for the playoffs.

"It's been by design," said Roberts. "Josh going on the disabled list and appreciating his workload the past couple of years, there's certain times I could have used him, but I want to make sure I don't overexpose him. And the same thing with Brandon Morrow. I don't want to overexpose him. Take the long view. We're in a good situation, trying to keep them as fresh as possible."

Roberts has been testing and in higher-leverage situations, the latter having been groomed by management for the role since Spring Training, despite a 12.46 ERA to start his career entering Wednesday.

"There's opportunities," said Roberts. "We've got some good arms and I like our right-handed setup men. I think it's more a matchup basis for the guys. Whoever ultimately we decide to go with, from the righties and lefties, I think we have a good group to pull from."

Roberts said Rich Hill, and will start the weekend series in Los Angeles against the Giants.