Dodgers: About Mookie Betts and That Leadoff Spot in the Lineup

“I’ve been doing it my whole life.”

After an incredible 3 home run performance on Thursday night, we’re seeing the full Mookie Betts experience as advertised. After starting the season — and his Dodgers career — with 3 hits in his first 20 at-bats, fans were a little uneasy. Especially after the MVP outfielder and LA agreed to a 12-year contract extension.

Man, does that feel like a long time ago.

Since that point, the leader of the Death Row lineup is batting .385 with 6 doubles and a team-leading 7 home runs in 15 games. Importantly for stressed Dodger fans, most of his damage has come from the leadoff spot in the lineup… a spot manager Dave Roberts has felt reluctant to let Mookie stay. However, after his big Thursday night, Dave seemed ready to keep his star at the top of the order.

I think it’s a very good possibility. Getting Corey Seager back helps things. And just kind of looking at things and seeing I want to construct the lineup, there’s a very good possibility of that.

On the season, Betts has started 6 games in the leadoff spot and has thrived at a .440 clip. In 11 starts in the two-hole, he’s posted a .255 average.

Related: Corey Seager Returns to the Starting Lineup

Understandably it’s a small sample size, but the correct choice is pretty obvious. You can even ask Dodgers fans.

Moreover, Betts himself has said he feels more comfortable at the top of the order. In fact, it’s something he let Roberts know earlier in the week.

I’ve been doing it my whole life so I think I’m just comfortable there. … I enjoy getting things started, creating havoc on the basepaths — trying to score one in the first. I definitely take pride in doing that… it’s just a comfort thing.

While the below response is critical of the struggling Max Muncy, it does have some merit when it comes to Dave and the Dodgers sometimes making things more difficult than they need to be.

In 20 games, there have been 20 different lineups. There’s no doubt that the team has excelled over the last handful of seasons mixing and matching the batting order — heavily relying on platoons to survive. But this team was built to be a powerhouse with a set it and forget it lineup (mostly)… just let Mookie do what he came here to do and let the rest follow suit.

NEXT: Brusdar Breaks the Internet

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  1. The Absolute undisputed best lead off hitter in all of baseball and you hit him second! Really? And then in interviews Roberts gets belligerent when asked why? The Dodgers need to fire Roberts. He is the players friend not a true manager. He has proven to be a terrible strategist and has managed to lose at least one game in each playoff do to his horrible pitching decisions. The most egregious part of that is he will not admit he made a bad call and learn from it! He has said he would bring in Kershaw against the Nationals again in that situation!!! He should have been fired as soon as he said that.

  2. Has Roberts finally woken up? Does he finally realize what every other sane person who knows anything about baseball has known since they first saw Mookie play the game of baseball. Yes Dave, Mookie is the best lead off guy in baseball. Yes Dave, that’s where he should play. Yes Dave, the numbers prove it.

    Increasingly, I am also thinking that Mookie would be a much better manager than Roberts. He’s got a nice long contract as a player, but he should be a Dodger for life. He’s smart. He’s a team player. He’s competitive. And most important, he’s a winner. I hope he manages the Dodgers after helping them to multiple world championships as a player

  3. Come on guys you do not need to be so hard on Dave Roberts!! He is a great manager and he gets along so well with his players, you do see that dont you?? You do have your right to your opinion…and dont forget how many National League Championships OUR team has WON under his leadership!! Give credit where credit is due!! Dave Roberts this Dodger Girl supports you 100% along with ALL the other Dodger Fans that support you!!

  4. A Giants sports article today clearly stated how Kapler and the majority of mangers are just puppets these days to the analytical FO. I don’t know why people refuse to call it like it is here. Roberts is a puppet, stop putting the blame on him, it’s not in his job description to make out lineups or make pitching moves unfortunately. We need to start calling out who’s really at fault here that’s Friedman. Roberts job is to keep the clubhouse on board with it and to be a politician in front of the media

    • So he gets a pass for being a puppet? He’s more responsible than you’re giving credit. Friedman did not tell him to pull Hill ’18 nor did he tell him leave Kershaw and Kelly last year.

      You’re correct about the FO influencing lineups but it’s still Roberts’ call and he needs to grow a spine and say no.