LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles is starting to get that Mookie magic once again.
Over Mookie Betts’s last seven games, he has a batting average of .346, with two home runs, and three RBI, with a .357 OBP and a .577 SLG. He has also scored seven runs for the Dodgers and not struck out a single time.
Before this stretch, Betts was off to a very slow start. In the first 15 games of the season, he was batting .203, with just two home runs and five RBI along with a .347 OBP, and a .339 SLG.
While Betts’ stats are definitely not up to his standards, one bright spot was that he was able to score 16 runs, meaning that while he has not been producing hits and driving people in, his on-base percentage has stayed relatively the same, as he was able to produce 12 walks during those 15 games.
The role of a leadoff man is to get on base, and for the power hitters to drive them in. While Mookie is an exception and is expected to do a lot more for the team, he still has done enough to help the Dodgers be one of the best teams in the early stages of this season.
Betts is currently in his third year with the Dodgers, and in the second of his 12-year, $365 million contract, which he signed back in 2020. His first year with the team was a complete success, as he was able to bat .292, with 16 home runs and 39 RBI in the shortened season, while earning All-MLB First Team honors, a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, and a championship to top it off.
Betts’s second season took a bit of a dip, as he only played 122 games due to a couple of stints on the injured list. He batted .264, with just 23 home runs, and 58 RBI, and his only accolade was an All-Star appearance, which is still very impressive, but not Mookie standards.
He was able to pick it up during last year’s NLDS, hitting 9-for-20, with one home run, but his struggles came back in the NLCS, as he went 4-for-23, with no home runs.
Many fans have been worried that Betts’ overall subpar beginning is a carry-over of last season. Over this entire season, Betts has batted .247, with an OBP of .350 and a total SLG of .412.
While the team’s success in its’ first 15 games has been more reliant on teammates like Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner, the Dodgers five wins in their last seven games can be directly-related to their typical leadoff man.
The Dodgers are the favorites in a lot of people’s eyes to win the World Series, and Betts will play a crucial role in trying to make that happen. Mookie will have to give the Dodgers the production that matches the back of his baseball card. If Mookie can be the same old Mookie that everyone knows, then that optimism can easily turn into a reality.
There’s new Melanated Mound Marauder on the come up and his name is Josiah Gray.
With veteran leaders Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross still on the mend, Gray has become the stopper on the staff.
The Washington Nationals pitcher was a top prospect in the LA Dodgers organization and came to Washington in the blockbuster trade that sent Mad Max Scherzer and talented shortstop Trea Turner to the talent-laden Dodgers in 2021.
Nats fans saw the move as a clearinghouse. A shameless unloading of talent that occurs too often when small market clubs rise to baseball supremacy. Just two years removed from the first World Series title in franchise history, the Nats typically started cleaning shop, cutting star players and potentially high salary and preparing for another rebuild. However, the X-Factor in that trade was Gray. If he was ready to develop into an ace starter, then the Nationals would be patting themselves on the back for years to come.
Washington was picked by most analysts to finish at the bottom of the NL East with the Mets, Braves and Phillies all slugging it out for supremacy once again. 12 games into the season and the Nats are where everyone expected (5-7), but the shining light and hope for the future is the young Gray who completed his second straight quality start, going 5.1 innings and surrendering just one run and three hits while striking out eight in a 6-1 Washington Nationals win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
The first step towards becoming a competitive club is beating the teams that your roster says you should beat. The Nationals did that on Tuesday, overpowering a Diamondbacks club that is expected to finish among baseball’s worst.
Gray is finding his zone and a comfortable home in the Nation’s capital. The Dodgers will surely wish they had held onto the 24-year-old rising star if he keeps elevating his stature at this pace. Young arms with command and confidence are hard to come by and Gray has both.
“When you see guys time and time again and you continue to get them out, it gives you that extra confidence my stuff is still playing,” Gray said. “They’re still having a difficult time in picking up my stuff. It definitely gives you confidence.”
The Nats have a long way to go and some more talent to acquire in order to compete with the top of the division, but the silver lining is the development of Gray, who after a rough first start against the Mets in which he surrendered four runs in four innings, settled down in his next start tossing 5 scoreless frames against the World Champion Braves.
Gray has a 2-1 record and a 3.14 ERA on the season. In his last 10.1 innings the New Rochelle, NY native has allowed just one earned run and he’s overpowered hitters, striking out 13. His out pitch has been his curveball, which is keeping hitters off balance nicely.
His dominance on the mound, in the absence of a veteran ace such as Max Scherzer, is a huge confidence builder for manager Dave Martinez and his fellow MLBro teammate Josh Bell, who plays first base.
“It’s really exciting to see him grow and I’m pumped to see what happens next for him,” said first Bell, who’s off to a scorching start of his own and seeking a huge bag on the free agent market after the season.
This future Black Ace is one of the rising pitching stars in MLB along with Cincinatti Reds fireballer Hunter Greene and Cleveland Guardians wonderkid Triston McKenzie.
LOS ANGELES, CA— Now that the 2022 MLB season is officially happening thanks to both sides representing the players and the owners coming to an agreement, that famous saying, “play ball” can truly have meaning.
As teams prepare schedules and maneuver through free agency, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has many things weighing on him for the start of the season including a new deal.
No new deal has been reached, however Roberts via a zoom call to local media stressed that he was encouraged on how the talks are continuing to progress daily.
We’re moving forward. Hopefully we can get it done sooner rather than later. I think we’re really close,” Roberts said. “I don’t think that it’s going to be an issue here in the coming days.”
In the final season of his current contract, many wondered if the Dodgers would allow Roberts to enter into the season without a new deal in place.
Under his tenure, Roberts has guided the Dodgers into the playoffs all six years, winning five National League West titles and brought the franchise a World Series title in 2020. The first time Los Angeles has won a championship since 1988.
As Roberts was elated that Spring Training, hewill arrive in Arizona on Sunday. the As baseball gets closer to starting, many questions loomed concerning free agent pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Max Muncy, and the status of Trevor Bauer’s return to the team.
“Making sure guys are healthy and ready to go, and the guys that weren’t totally ramped up just kind of seeing where they’re at.”
On Friday one of those questions was answered in the form a one-year deal for Kershaw to remain on the mound in Los Angeles. Roberts has maintained a solid relationship with Kershaw, which made this deal fit perfectly.
As it pertains to a more difficult subject, Robert addressed the future of pitcher Trevor Bauer who made 17 starts for the team in 2021.
Roberts said that he doesn’t want to “close the door completely” on having Bauer join the team at some point during camp. The L.A. District Attorney’s office ruled in February Bauer wouldn’t face criminal charges on allegations of sexual assault, MLB placed Bauer on administrative leave for a week. The league continues to investigate the incident and could consider a suspension.
Dave Roberts said he won’t completely close the door on Trevor Bauer coming to spring training. Roberts said didn’t know all the things going on with Bauer’s situation, w/ his lawyers & MLB. #Dodgers
Roberts was also confident that current first baseman Max Muncy would be ready for the start of the regular season.
Roberts was also asked about sought after free agent first baseman Freddie Freeman.
“I would love to see Freddie Freeman in a Dodger uniform. I think that who wouldn’t? He’s a heck of a ballplayer. …certainly, in the conversation for us but ultimately it is going to be his decision.
If Freeman is indeed signed by the Dodgers, Muncy made it clear he would not have a problem moving to second base.
With the contracts and players being aligned on the field during Spring Training as they prepare for the regular season, Roberts has shown that he is an essential piece of this puzzle that has all of the potential to make it back to the World Series under his leadership. The Dodgers should have a deal for him in place sooner than later.
#MLBbro Mookie Betts hit a clutch 8th-inning RBI double into the gap that gave the LA Dodgers a 6-5 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Betts’ clutch hit capped a four-run comeback against the Atlanta Braves bullpen and helped the defending champs get back in the NLCS. The series is now 2-1 and very much a dogfight.