While there’s no one player to point at with the Dodgers’ recent troubles, it certainly doesn’t help that Mookie Betts has not been himself. The 2018 AL MVP has not brought the star power offensively the last few weeks.
Betts was not in the lineup for Friday’s tilt against the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Dave Roberts downplayed his absence to a scheduled off-day. Roberts clearly stated that it was not additional time for Betts to mentally sort out his rough April.
“It’s a long stretch here. I just felt, somewhere in the middle [of this stretch], we’ll get him for the next two and then three in Chicago so he’ll play five straight getting to the off day.”
Betts has hit .285 in March and April in his career prior to the 2021 season. He’s batting .250 thus far in 2021. It’s only 99 plate appearances, but his lack of performance has been amplified by the Dodgers lack of run production.
Roberts expanded on why he thinks Betts is laboring at the plate – hitting mechanics.
“I think Mookie ending at-bats with balls in the strike zone. He’s not doing as well as he normally does, Swinging out of the zone, pretty uncharacteristic. For him, it’s just taking some extra swings. Feeling a little bit better about his mechanics and that will lead to performance.”
Betts has been known to put in the work. He famously challenged all of the Dodgers to recommit themselves to each and every practice after arriving to Spring Training last year.
Betts Receiving Advice from Turner
One Dodgers teammate Betts has leaned on during this rough patch is fellow Dodgers leader Justin Turner. Roberts revealed that Betts has been working through his swing mechanics with Justin Turner.
“It’s more things mechanically that he’s working through with and Justin’s a great guy to bounce things off of as well.”
Lastly, Roberts was asked if the HBP Betts sustained against the Mariners has been the impetus for his hitting swoon. Roberts refuted the hypothesis firmly.
“I don’t think so.”
Betts is one of the best players in baseball. He’s bound to start hitting again, but the Dodgers offense needs him sooner, rather than later.