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    ‘Simple answer’ to Dodgers’ stalled offense – get Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman going
    • October 11, 2023

    PHOENIX — They were the twin engines that propelled the Dodgers’ offense all season.

    Two games into their National League Division Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman have been grounded, a combined 1 for 13 (with three walks). Not coincidentally, the Dodgers have hit .159 (10 for 63) as a team with just four runs in the two losses.

    “All of us gotta get going,” Betts said following the Game 1 loss. “For me and Freddie, that’s kind of our role and we’re not doing it. I take ownership in that. We just have to figure out a way, man. There are no excuses.”

    Betts soared to the front of the NL MVP race with a torrid August – he hit .455 with a 1.355 OPS, 11 home runs and 30 RBIs in 28 games. A cooldown was inevitable and Betts hit just .244 in September with only one home run and nine RBIs in his final 25 games.

    Two games into the postseason, he is still looking for his first hit.

    “I’m not even thinking about me, man,” Betts said Monday night. “So the ‘Me’ questions are no bueno. No bueno. I’m just focused on the Dodgers right now. We’re down 2-0 and we have to figure out a way to come back on Wednesday.”

    Freeman hit well enough down the stretch (.296 in his final 28 games), but he was not happy with his swing. That remains true after going 1 for 6 in the first two games against the Diamondbacks.

    “That’s what happens when you have a terrible swing. You foul balls off yourself,” Freeman said of a foul off the inside of his right knee in the seventh inning of Game 2.

    “Same way I’ve been feeling for about six weeks, cutting my swing off. So, I’ve got a couple days to figure it out.”

    In the aftermath of the Game 2 loss, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he didn’t want to overemphasize the need for Betts and Freeman to get going. But he acknowledged Tuesday that “the simple answer (to waking the offense) is getting Mookie and Freddie going” but the responsibility belongs to “everybody” if the Dodgers are going to extend their lives in this best-of-five series.

    “I think it’s just one of those things where it’s two games and I understand that things are more magnified, but one game, one at-bat could change things,” Roberts said. “That’s what my expectation is.

    “I was joking with Freddie, I think it was in ’21 (when the Atlanta Braves beat the Dodgers in the NLCS), where he had two really bad games against us. Then he came back in that third game with a base hit to left field and another one. And then he took off. So for me, it can change with one at-bat. And I expect the same thing with Mookie.”


    Roberts said he is considering some changes to the “structure” of the Dodgers’ lineup in response to the poor performances in the first two games.

    “I think it’s something that I’m going to think about tonight. I’ve thought about it today,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “There is that balance of looking at it, it’s only two games, but the other part of it is that sense of urgency because this is do or die now.”

    The Dodgers will face a third consecutive right-handed starting pitcher, rookie Brandon Pfaadt. But Kiké Hernandez or Chris Taylor could be in the starting lineup regardless.

    “It’s something I’m certainly contemplating,” Roberts said.


    In the final weeks of the regular season, the Dodgers talked to veteran right-hander Lance Lynn about pitching more aggressively early in games and not saving anything for later in the game. With Ryan Pepiot lined up to share the bulk of Game 3, Lynn has taken that to heart.

    “During the regular season there’s different things that are needed, different starts,” Lynn said. “In the postseason, when they give you the ball you go get as many outs for as long as you can. That’s the only thing that matters. Obviously, there’s no saving anything. So you’re just trying to make pitches, make quality pitches and not let them score. It’s that simple.”

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    Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior acknowledged that “it’s probably an adjustment” for Lynn who has been known as an ‘innings-eater’ throughout his career.

    “I think the thing that we’ve been harping on, as with all our guys, just worry about the hitter that’s in front of you right now,” Prior said. “Let’s not worry about four innings, six innings, something. I think that’s … definitely from a past era. But at the end of this, we just talked about, just keep making pitches, quality pitches, one after another.

    “I think he was coming from a different place where things were run a little bit different and there was a little bit more expected of him. But I think right now, we’re in a position where we just want you to chew up outs until we feel like you’re good. I think he understands that.”


    NLDS Game 3 – Dodgers (RHP Lance Lynn, 13-11, 5.73 ERA) at Diamondbacks (RHP Brandon Pfaadt, 3-9, 5.72 ERA), Wednesday, 6:07 p.m., TBS, 570 AM, 830 AM

    ​ Orange County Register