By Nick Hamilton | MLBbro Reporter
LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers advanced to the National League Division Series (NLDS) thanks to consistent hitting from Mookie Betts, who went 2-4 at the plate on Wednesday night, as Chris Taylor connected on a 2-run home run for the win over the St Louis Cardinals.
🚨 TAYLOR-MADE! 🚨
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) October 7, 2021
As unsettling as an elimination play-in game could be, the leadership of Betts along with several others in the clubhouse provided an energy that comes with previous playoff experience as they prepared for this moment.
“These games are — you get nervous and butterflies and all those type of things, but I think that’s what makes it fun. I think everybody kind of feels that,” Betts explained.
“I don’t want to speak for everybody, but it just kind of seems like the butterflies and whatnot are going, and I think that just means that we love it.”
The late Nipsey Hussle once rapped, “I owe myself, I told myself back then that I would do this.”
The swagger of a winner, the mentality of the mamba and the wind behind his back, and overcoming many obstacles this season. No one would deny Betts and the Dodgers their moment to shine and show out.
The Dodgers right fielder prepared to enter his 40th career postseason game healthy, however throughout the season there were peaks and valleys due to injuries for him.
Betts missed a sizable portion of the season with a hip injury he suffered in July, along with missing more time in August as he was eventually placed on the 10-day DL.
With him being in a significant amount of pain, the team wondered if he would be able to return this season, as surgery was also an option that was explored at one point.
When September arrived Betts returned from injury and contributed every game of the regular season. He’s been remarkable since his return, yet his impact was felt in the clubhouse even when he wasn’t on the field.
“You look back a couple months — I can’t believe we’re here with him (Betts) playing every day,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
This Dodgers team is a very close knit unit, with everything that they’ve gone through this season. Injuries, the Trevor Bauer drama. Betts blocked the noise with a sharp focus, determined to be the great player we have seen in times past.
“Even once I was somewhat healthy, I still didn’t play that well. I’m not blaming anything on any injuries or anything. It’s just purely me just not playing well,” Betts said before the Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
”But you know, we’ve got the guys, they all just picked up my slack, and that’s why we are where we are. Obviously the Giants played really well. Got to tip your cap. They won 107 games. We’ve played really well and kind of picked up for each other, and that’s just the name of the game.”
Many will focus on the incredible and vibrant walk off homer by Taylor, but make no mistake Betts’ contributions early in the game paved the way for the Dodgers make plays in order to be victorious.
The team moves on the face the Giants in San Francisco, a match up we all desire to witness.
Betts has been successful this season against their rivals from the north at plate and in the outfield.
His defense will be on display and needed for every game. Expect this defensive technician to come through like an Amazon delivery.
The Betts jersey.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 4, 2021
It was also recently revealed that Betts had the top selling jersey in MLB for the 2021 season, another reason why he’s not only a top tier talent, but a true fan favorite.