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Dave Roberts to Dodgers: Please don’t talk to ESPN while playing the game

Dodgers' Corey Seager is met at home plate by Justin Turner.
Dodgers’ Corey Seager is met at home plate by Justin Turner after Seager’s home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 of the wild card series Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

On the day after third baseman Justin Turner did an in-game ESPN interview while playing third base, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he does not want his players to do any more. Although television networks have encouraged putting microphones on players as a way to popularize and humanize them, Roberts said he is “not a fan” of such interviews during postseason games.

“Baseball is kind of evolving, but, yeah, I don’t know,” Roberts said. “That’s a decision Justin made. I don’t see that happening with our guys going forward.”

No balls were hit to Turner during the inning in which he wore a microphone. But the concept drew widespread criticism Thursday, when three balls were hit to Oakland Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano during the inning he wore a microphone. He dropped an expletive on national television, and later he was asked how long it would take him to catch his breath after a long run.

Joc Pederson will once again start the game from the bench as the Dodgers face right-hander Brandon Woodruff in Game 2 against the Brewers.

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“Players getting interviewed on the field during playoff games is lunacy,” Milwaukee pitcher Brett Anderson tweeted.

ESPN’s Buster Olney said the commissioner’s office and players’ union sanctioned the interviews and players can decline them. In fact, he estimated that 85% to 90% of players decline.

Anderson’s teammate, Christian Yelich, is the Brewers’ best player. He did not wear a microphone Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t mind if Yelich did it,” Roberts quipped.

Vote of no-confidence

Joc Pederson has four hits, including two homers, in five career at-bats against Brandon Woodruff, but the Dodgers slugger was not in the lineup against the Brewers right-hander in Game 2.

Roberts started right-handed-hitting AJ Pollock in left field and Will Smith at designated hitter, while the left-handed-hitting Pederson, who has made a living crushing right-handers, was on the bench.

“I think it’s more on recency and the way AJ and Will are swinging the bat,” Roberts said. “We want to get Joc going, but I just feel that with Woodruff having an elite [96.5-mph] fastball at the top of zone, I just haven’t seen Joc get to it and handle it this year.”

Pederson, who will be a free agent after the postseason, is the architect of several huge October moments, but he had his worst season in 2020, batting .190 with a .681 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, both career lows, and seven homers and 16 RBIs in 43 games.

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He left the team on paternity leave late in the season and again when he was placed on the family medical emergency list. Roberts said he doesn’t know if Pederson will be available after the wild card round.

Bruised Crew


Milwaukee right fielder Ryan Braun, who suffered a left-oblique strain in Sunday’s regular-season finale and left Game 1 in the fifth inning because of the injury, was not in Thursday’s lineup, though he was hoping to be available to pinch-hit.

“I tried to play through it [Wednesday] but was significantly compromised,” Braun said. “The biggest thing is not wanting to put the team in anything but optimal position to be successful. With how it’s feeling, I don’t think me being in there from the start would have given us the best chance to win today.”

Braun, a Granada Hills High product, was replaced in the lineup by Ryon Healy, who spent most of the season at the team’s alternate training site in Appleton, Wis., and had only seven at-bats for the Brewers but was in the cleanup spot for Game 2.

Asked before the game if he expected to bat cleanup in an elimination game against Clayton Kershaw, Healy said, “Oh, without a doubt. This has been my plan all along. I don’t know what took you guys so long to figure it out.”

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