Betts has been on fire during the postseason, but the Braves held him hitless at the plate for the second time during the series.
Now the Dodgers have their backs against the wall as they trail the Braves 3-1 in the National League Championship Series.
Our MLBbro finished Game 4 going 0-4 at the plate with a strikeout. It was a tough outing for the Dodgers leadoff hitter and he just could not find his rhythm at the plate.
This is one of the few games that Betts has struggled in this postseason.
He’s been one of the hottest hitters for his team, batting .412 with five RBIs and a home run this postseason.
But Mookie knows a thing or two about inspiring playoff comebacks and rallies.
Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, left, celebrates with outfielder Mookie Betts after hitting a three-run home run against the Houston Astros in the sixth inning in game five of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park in Houston. pic.twitter.com/YpO6OC7bsw
Dusty Baker is proving to be the Master Technician in this ALCS. The veteran manager and baseball lifer has given the middle finger to the metrics (letting his pitchers rock out) and relied on his decades of knowledge in leading the Houston Astros to a commanding 3-2 series lead over the Boston Red Sox.
Bob Gibson was so great that baseball lowered the mound after his 1968 season, where he gave up just 1.12 earned runs a game and hurled 13 complete game shutouts. The Black Ace was even better in clutch playoff moments, often pitching complete games and carrying his offensively-challenged team to victory.
In Game 5 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, Mookie Betts went 4-for-4, and became the only Dodger in history with four hits in a winner-take-all game. Between the offensive production and his defense that has ignited many plays from his fellow Dodger teammates, this team is on a trajectory to still win the NLCS and make the World Series.
“This is when the stars are stars,” Roberts said of Betts after the game 5 win. “And he’s a superstar.”
However after viewing the first two games against the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, some would question this team’s focus and energy.
In game two in Atlanta, Mookie Betts opened the game with a single followed by Corey Seager’s homer that gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers had slightly better offensive production, despite Roberts decision to platoon pitchers on the mound including inserting Julio Urias into the relief that ultimately would cost them the win.
Betts is a part of a gigantic lineup that can hit in spots that most aren’t successful in, but balancing out the production is not only up to the players but Roberts seeing the adjustments through his eyes and not just analytics.
Many of the players are taking on the attitude of their manager with the aggressive base running in the first two games of this series.
During the regular season, the Dodgers ranked 17th in stolen bases. In the first eight games of the playoffs, Los Angeles has stolen 11 bases.
The aggressiveness must remain, yet smarter, more accurate hitting and fielding must improve if they want to have a strong chance at winning this series.
Betts stole two bases. Gavin Lux stole one base and Chris Taylor stole a base in game two on Sunday. Fortunately no one was thrown out while stealing bases.
“In the postseason where things are more magnified,” Roberts said, “you just can’t be afraid to fail. I just think that being careful in the postseason doesn’t play.”
Last year in the playoffs against the Braves they trailed 3-1 and fought back to win the series and move on to the World Series. This team has been down before, however can rise to the occasion again with similar opportunities on the line?
Roberts has strong believe in this club winning the NLCS, and maybe his strong faith can bend the baseball universe in their favor. However it will take swift action, precise hitting, stellar defense to be the empire who struck back to knock the Braves off for good.
LOS ANGELES — The 2021 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers could easily be a reality television series that gives fans every emotion and feeling possible.
From dealing with injuries throughout the lineup, to the saga of pitcher Trevor Bauer that has more drama than a General Hospital episode, and battling to claim the NL West while falling short by one game to their hated rival San Francisco Giants made this season a challenging one to say the least.
Manager Dave Roberts has seen and experienced it all, from his time as a player winning a World Series championship with the 2004 Boston Red Sox to becoming the franchise’s first minority manager being of Black and Japanese heritage.
Despite the criticisms over the years, Roberts has guided the Dodgers to multiple World Series appearances, battling against cheating scandals surrounding the Houston Astros in 2017 and Red Sox in 2018 and he’s always stood tall on his focus.
His determination and tremendous baseball knowledge finally guided the Dodgers to their first championship in 32 years in 2020. Unfortunately, it happened during one of the most deadly global pandemics our generation has experienced.
It didn’t happen at Dodger Stadium, therefore, there were limited fans attending the World Series in Texas. It came down to a sixth game and on the arm of a young phenom in lefty Julio Urias to secure the final three outs.
His young stable of hitters led by Corey Seager became the World Series MVP, acquiring one of the greatest talents in the game in Mookie Betts paid dividends especially defensively, and we saw the emergence of players like Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger and Kike Hernandez under Roberts’ tutelage.
The 2021 season saw his Dodgers with their backs against the wall against a feisty and successful St. Louis Cardinals team that had won 17 consecutive games in September and won 19 out of their last 20.
Was Roberts unfazed by his opponent? You better believe it. Though he respected his opponent, he knew the type of talent and the attitude of his players who can play with a chip on their shoulder the size of Frito-Lay most times.
Only in Los Angeles where a team could win in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth inning in a winner-take-all Wild Card game against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. Roberts continued to smile in the faces of his critics, and focused on his team defeating his NL West rival Giants in the NLDS.
This was a tall task seeing how the Giants clinched the division with a franchise-record 107-win season. Ultimately it came down to a do-or-die Game 5 at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Of course, Roberts’ methods would come into question again, as in the eleventh hour the probable starter Urias was changed to Corey Kneble. This decision came after Roberts proclaimed Urias would be starting Game 5.
Again, he managed his team out of NLDS and into the NLCS in a rematch against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers overcame a 3-1 deficit to win that series last year.
It’s time to put some serious respect on Roberts’ name and trust his decision- making more, especially with the proven track record he’s laid down. I often wonder if Roberts didn’t have the appearance he has, would he be questioned as much as he is.
He’s won a championship as a Black manager in a league that has just eight percent Black American baseball players on the field. There is a serious need for not only more Black players but more Black managers in positions to lead MLB teams.
Roberts is like Tom Cruise, no mission is impossible and could be well on his way to capturing another World Series title in 2021. The Roberts hire also shows when given an opportunity to manage with the proper personnel, anything is possible!