Mookie Betts hasn’t been his usual dominant baseball self so far this season. Mookie is batting just .250 and he missed a couple of reps after getting beaned on the forearm with some hot cheese a week ago.
Betts has been one of the most productive players in the game over the past five seasons, so the concern is minimal. He hits for average, power, steals bases (last 30-30 players in MLB) and his glove is space-ship special.
If there was any real cause for alarm…meaning if we had to nitpick, the only alarming statistic (other than a batting average that sits 50 points below his career clip) was Betts’ paltry three RBI in 80 official plate appearances coming into Wednesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.
We know he’s the party starter in the Dodgers’ lineup and to keep 100, the entire lineup had been slumping during a recent 1-5 stretch, despite the franchise’s impressive collection of offensive powerhouses.
Good thing they play everyday in baseball because an 8-0 win behind seven strong innings from Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday cured those “batter blues” real quick.
It was inevitable that the 2018 AL MVP would get it going sooner than later. Betts’ leadoff double on Tuesday was an Omen of things to come.
Then, on Wednesday, Betts lined a pitch to centerfield for his second hit of the game, driving in two runs and putting the finishing touches on a win that broke a three-game skid. It was the distinguished Black Knight’s first multiple-RBI game of the young season.
Expect many more to follow.
Matt Beaty and Mookie Betts both single for four more runs. Shouts to Sal Romano for giving up as many hits to the Dodgers in an inning as they have had the last 10 games, probably. pic.twitter.com/Bv5lgQXcMr
A player as multifaceted as Mookie is always impactful. Even if he isn’t wielding a hot stick, Betts does so many other things. Smells like Mookie is cooking up one of his infamous hit streaks, where he doesn’t strike out in like 40 or 50 at-bats.
You can’t keep a good brother down for long, especially if his name is Markus Lynn Betts.
Black in the day, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) provided a pipeline of talent that brought the flavor to the game of Major League Baseball on the field — and when given the opportunity — in the front office.
While the game struggles to survive on these campuses as many schools pulled the plug on their baseball programs, MLB continues looking to diversify its talent pool off the diamond by tapping into the Black excellence prevalent in these universities.
The Groove Phi Groove social fraternity’s chapter at Bowie State University is hosting a virtual information session on Wednesday, April 28, that will expand the knowledge of professional opportunities in baseball for HBCU students.
The hour-long zoom session is featuring reps from The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Talent Acquisition teams at MLB, who are looking to educate a generation of prospective employees who could bring diversity to the front offices of MLB teams while developing a pool of future candidates for front-office positions through its Diversity Pipeline Program.
MLB’s team of front office pros will guide HBCU students, student-athletes, school administrators, and recent alumni looking to explore career opportunities.
This career information session also features an introduction to career opportunities available through the 2021 Summer Internship Program.
This open discussion will present MLB professionals sharing information about the industry, and tips necessary to develop and thrive in it. The session also features an overview of baseball career opportunities available for business and baseball operations candidates learning about MLB career perspectives from employees of color.
MLB professionals will also share their experiences and information about the industry, and provide tips to develop and succeed in the industry. MLB teams are hoping to connect with students, student-athletes, school administrators, and recent alumni wishing to embark on baseball and business operations careers.
Five MLB bros were on blast Saturday afternoon when the Washington Nationals and New York Mets went toe-to-toe again at CitiBank Field in Queens.
In the second game of a massive early season, three-game series, Joe Ross met Marcus Stroman on the hill while the Nats put the entire right side of the infield in the hands of Black Knights, Josh Bell and Josh Harrison.
Ross Was Boss
Ross followed his worst start of the season against the Phillies with arguably his best.
Manager Dave Martinez pulled him after 91 pitches and an easy 6 innings of work as DC smashed New York 7-1. The understated righty found the location that was missing in St. Louis earlier last week and put the Mets bats on ice.
It was the perfect rebound performance for Washington after Ross gave up 10 runs in 4 1/3 innings last Monday versus the Cardinals.
This was a solid all-around performance by Ross who also did his thing at the plate with an RBI single in the second inning.
That was an early blow, giving them a 2-0 lead and forcing New York into a standing eight count. His only mistake was a solo HR to Michael Conforto in the fourth. Otherwise Ross was in shutdown mode all afternoon.
Harrison and Bell ignited the Washington offense and they went for the kill early and delivered.
Harrison walked in the first and scored as Starlin Castro drove him in for a first inning lead on a day where he finished 1-for-5 at the plate.
Bell later scored when Castro lined a shot to centerfield and the floodgates were officially open, officially sinking the Mets.
Stro Had No Flow
There wasn’t too much for Stroman to smile about after losing the fight with his location and the Nationals took advantage. They clipped him for a run in the first inning and it was downhill from there for the Mets starter, who was due for a rocky start after being lights out this season for the Mets. Entering Saturday’s start Stro Bro was 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA.
Nationals manager had Stroman’s number and stacked the lineup with lefties.
It was the most unfortunate time for Stroman considering this was the Saturday afternoon game of the week and the national TV audience caught his worst start of the year. The durag was tight but his game wasn’t as he lasted just 4 innings trailing 5-0 after yielding 8 hits and 5 runs.
In the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss on Monday, Betts was facing Rafael Montero who was clearly looking to pitch him inside and broke him off with a 95 mph fastball that rode inside, nailing the MVP and two-time champion on the inside of his right forearm. The only good news for Dodger fans at that moment was that Betts ate it like a Lunchable and went to first base representing the tying run.
However, it was clear from the outside that the injury was going to affect Betts for some time at least. He struggled to get his protective base running glove over the area on his forearm that was hit. It became clear that this was not a rub-some-dirt-on-it type injury because there was no faking the pain on the grill of one of the game’s great poker faces. As fate would have it, Betts was retired when Seager grounded out into a game-ending double play that killed the rally.
Betts was not in Tuesday’s starting lineup for LA’s series finale with the Mariners (a 1-0 win) and they are off until Thursday. It’s still not clear whether or not the 2018 AL MVP will miss significant time.
Betts is the irreversible force in L.A.’s lineup and they are already missing his presence after mustering just one run on Tuesday. The Dodgers are loaded, but any extended absence by Betts definitely weakens them on offense and defense.
The DMV was ready for two bros to start for the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day, but fate caught them looking. The Orioles and Boston Red Sox were postponed due to weather conditions in the Bean. Meanwhile, COVID-19 could extend the wait potentially for 14 days before the first pitch in the Nation’s Capital.
Josh Bell, one of the down-low free acquisitions during the off season was scheduled to make his debut at first base where he will replace Ryan “Mr. Nationals Zimmerman. Bell, a mainstay on The Shadow League’s Top MLB Black Knights list, is trying to rebound from a difficult 2020 campaign where his stats took a dip with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nonetheless, he is a substantial defensive upgrade at the position.
Bell, who smashed 37 homers in 2019, signed a downgraded, one-year $6.35 million contract coming off a year where he struggled with a .226 batting average, just 8 dingers and a 26.5 percent strikeout rate (a career-worse) during the truncated 60-game season.
But hitting behind the Uber talented Juan Soto should give the Big Bopper every chance to rebound and solidify Washington’s first base position. If he does his thizzle, he will position himself to land a mega, multi-year deal from the organization. He was scorching at the plate over the last two weeks of Spring Training. On the other hand, if he fails, his career will be at a Khris Davis type of crossroads.
During a press conference, late Thursday afternoon National team president Mike Rizzo confirmed that four players tested positive for the coronavirus and have been placed under quarantine while MLB currently plans to let the Nats and Mets start the regular season on Friday.
However, D.C.’s COVID-19 protocols could be a conflict so stay tuned
The weather in Beantown delayed the debut of another newly-minted starter of African-American descent. A guy who is the leader of a bunting resurgence in the MLB, as players try to figure out ways around the infamous shift.
Baltimore’s Black Knight, Cedric Mullins, was scheduled to start for the Orioles in center field as their rebuild continues. Mullins is currently in a battle with Austin Hayes for the position as the long-term replacement to the departed perennial All-Star Adam Jones in center field. However, insiders tell me that the Orioles are hoping he can continue to develop and become their long-term leadoff hitter, to take advantage of his speed at the top of the lineup.