SAN DIEGO -- If the 157th game of the season for the Dodgers on Tuesday night looked more like a late Spring Training tryout for roster spots, well, it was.Even though the Dodgers are alive for the home-field advantage in the National League Division Series against Washington, Dave Roberts managed
SAN DIEGO -- If the 157th game of the season for the Dodgers on Tuesday night looked more like a late Spring Training tryout for roster spots, well, it was.
Even though the Dodgers are alive for the home-field advantage in the National League Division Series against Washington, Dave Roberts managed the Dodgers' 7-1 loss to the Padres in a way that put certain players who are on the bubble in the kind of situations they might see in October.
Consider the contrasting plights of pitchers Alex Wood and Louis Coleman. Rough times for Coleman continued, as he walked Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte in the eighth inning before serving up a grand slam to Hunter Renfroe, who had already slugged a three-run homer off Kenta Maeda in the first.
"We've seen Coleman in spots be very good, at other times, not so good," said Roberts. "In that situation, as we see what we have with guys going forward, I wanted to see him get out a middle of the order bat, but he walks Myers and Solarte and gets to the No. 5 hitter and he gives up a home run. It comes down to Louis has got to make pitches."
The middle innings that Coleman had been given earlier in the year now seem to be going to right-handers Josh Fields, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning, or Jesse Chavez. Roberts also tested starter Brock Stewart in relief in this game, getting a scoreless sixth inning.
From the left side, while Grant Dayton struck out two of the three batters he faced, a late entrant into the fray for a bullpen spot is Wood, primarily a starting pitcher who is coming off May elbow surgery and has accepted a relief role because his comeback timetable didn't allow for enough innings to rebuild back into a starter.
In two relief appearances since returning from arthroscopic clean-up surgery, Wood has two scoreless innings, striking out two in a perfect inning against San Diego. Roberts said Wood is in the mix to make the postseason bullpen.
"That's what I'm trying to do," said Wood. "When I got hurt, I was in as good a place as I've been in a while commanding the ball where I wanted to. Today it was like before I got hurt. I felt then like I figured it out, made an adjustment in my mechanics so I can repeat them and I've been sharp so far.
"I haven't thrown back to back yet. That's probably the last hurdle. I'm just trying to do my part. I told them last week, I'm ready to come back and help in whatever way they see fit and want to use me."
Roberts also made some unconventional moves with position players during the game, lifting first baseman Adrián González and left fielder Andrew Toles in the fifth inning.
Gonzalez came out with a sinus infection, said Roberts, who replaced him with Howie Kendrick. Toles gave way because Roberts wanted to get at-bats for Andre Ethier, trying to fight his way back into relevance after missing most of the year with a broken leg.
"As you saw tonight, normally wouldn't have taken Toles out as early as did, but l wanted to get Andre at-bats and it nice to see him get a walk and be competitive," Roberts said.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.