Dodgers reaping benefits of Mookie Betts’ play

LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – Mookie Betts is on fire. He’s hitting the baseball. He’s hitting with power. He’s getting on base. He’s driving in runs. That’s just fine and dandy with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is something the Dodgers have come to expect from the veteran outfielder.

Betts has played fluidly all season long. He played exceptional in home games against both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the eight home games that the Dodgers engaged in with the Phillies and Diamondbacks before embarking on a 10-game road trip, Betts went into offensive explode mode.

May 17, 2022. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts (50) rounds the bases after clobbering a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Betts’ blast came in the sixth inning with the Dodgers down 3-1. After Betts went yard, Trea Turner and Justin Turner followed with home runs of their own in the Dodgers’ 7-6 win at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Against Arizona, in particular, Betts kind of did what he wanted to do. In the Dodgers’ 5-4 win in the first game of the series, Betts had a ho-hum game, going 1-4 with an RBI and scoring a run. In the first game of a double-header on May 17, Betts collected three hits in four at-bats, scored twice, and drove in two runs in the Dodgers’ 7-6 comeback win.

Down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning to the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers needed an offensive spark. Betts gave them one with a two-run home run to tie the ballgame. The Dodgers scored five times in the inning, including getting two more out-of-the-park blasts from Trea Turner and Justin Turner. Betts then scored three more times in the nightcap in the Dodgers’ 12-3 win.

Betts spent the first six years of his Major League Baseball career playing for the Boston Red Sox. In four of those seasons, Betts hit the century mark in scoring runs. The last time Betts scored 100 runs or more in a season was his last with Boston when he crossed the plate 135 times.

That was in 2019. This is 2022. Now in his third season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Betts may be on his way to finally hitting that mark that has evaded him the last two seasons. As the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter, Betts is taking advantage of his opportunity to score more.

May 15, 2022. Los Angeles Dodgers leadoff hitter Mookie Betts (50) smashed a home run and drove in two runs in a 5-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

In 35 games, Betts has already scored 36 runs. With the Dodgers wrapping up a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies and then engaging in another four-game matchup against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium, Betts was equally effective running the bases as well as hitting the baseball.

Before playing the Diamondbacks, Betts had collected five hits and scored three runs in his last five games. In the Dodgers’ 5-4 comeback win against the Phillies on Sunday, May 15, Betts came up with two hits, including a long-distant home run, his seventh on the season. Betts also produced two RBIs in the game as well.

This is the versatility the Dodgers had expected from Betts when they nabbed the five-time All-Star and former American League MVP (2018). Betts also cranked out a home run blast in the Dodgers’ 8-3 defeat to the Phillies on Saturday, May 14.

Betts getting his groove on at the plate back makes it easier for the rest of the Dodgers lineup. With Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Will Smith, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger behind him along the hitter’s row, Betts presents a formidable challenge for opposing pitchers.

He draws walks (19) and gets on base hitting the ball (37). And with that being the case, it would appear that no lead is safe against the Dodgers as long as Betts is doing his thing.

From May 1 to May 15, Betts pounded out 15 hits and scored 10 runs. Out of the 12 games that he played during that two-week window, Betts scored in eight of the 12 games. As a team, the Dodgers are just as good any team in major league baseball offensively. So far this season, the Dodgers are No. 6 in hitting.

May 14, 2022. In an 8-3 defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts (50) goes deep for a home run. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

It really doesn’t matter if the Dodgers are going red hot in the win column or cold stone in the loss department because this team will climb back into a ballgame with their ability to hit and sore runs. That’s because the roster that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has in place can come back from just about any deficit.

You wouldn’t know it judging the way the team has played of late. The Dodgers opened their current seven-game homestand, losing their first three of a four-game series against the Phillies.

For a while, in a game played on May 15, the Phillies looked like they would extend that streak by one more game. The Dodgers actually entered their Sunday matinee game against the Phillies being zero for four in their last four contests. In their first three series games against the Phillies, the Dodgers saw Philadelphia’s bats put the hammer down with 29 runs.

When the Phillies put up four runs in the second inning against Dodgers rookie pitcher Michael Grove, it looked like it would be another long day at the ballpark.

But unlike their other three games against the Phillies, the Dodgers did something about not wanting to be swept by Philadelphia. The Dodgers scored three runs in the last two innings of the game, including two in the ninth, to officially put a halt to their losing skid with their comeback win.  

The Dodgers had just recalled Grove, who was making his major league debut, from Double-A. Grove lasted three and two-thirds innings before being bowing out of the game. The Dodgers needed to get jump-started in this game. Betts, of course, was happy to oblige.

After all of the hoopla around the Phillies’ four-run second inning, Betts came back and smashed a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. Betts kept up his hitting ways with an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning.

In the ninth inning, Gavin Lux’s walk-off double brought Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor home for the game-tying and game-winning runs.

The Dodgers are still holding on to first place in the National League West. But barely. The San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants are hot on their trail. The Dodgers have stiff competition for the NL West top spot. However, as long as Roberts has Betts healthy and ready to go, the Dodgers should be fine the rest of the season.   

Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts at the plate against the San Diego Padres. Betts led the Dodgers into postseason play. Photo by Melinda Meijer/News4usonline